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Competitiveness, infrastructure, multiple regulation bane of Nigerian aviation—IATA

Fresh strategic reforms capable of changing the current discouraging narratives in Nigerian aviation industry have been listed by the leadership of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at a forum held in Kuwait.

In his presentation, IATA’s Director-General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac called on regulators of airline industry across Africa and the Middle East region to among other things, secure the future and growth of aviation in their countries by harmonizing regulatory provisions of related government agencies to limit issues of multiple taxation and counterproductive regulations.

He said time has come for economies serious in reaping from the emerging global aviation growth to review their issues bordering on cost competitiveness, infrastructure and gender diversity to deepen ease of doing business in aviation sector.

According to him, “The region (Middle East and North Africa) is at the nexus of conflicting geopolitical forces with real consequences for aviation. And airspace capacity constraints have become more extreme. But people want to travel. And economies in the region are thirsty for the benefits that aviation brings.

“Some airlines in the region are doing well, but overall Middle East carriers are expected to lose $5 per passenger this year – far below the global average of $6 profit per passenger. Low-cost infrastructure is essential.

“Our message to governments is simple: follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) principles, consult users with full transparency and recognise that rising costs have long-term negative consequences. Aviation’s benefits are in the economic activity that the industry catalyzes, not in the tax receipts it generates,” de Juniac said.

He added that there are enough latest technologies backward aviation economies can leverage on to ensure that the infrastructure operates efficiently for airlines and conveniently for passengers.

Juniac added that “The governments have understood that infrastructure investments are needed to capture aviation’s economic and social benefits. But adequate infrastructure is not just about the bricks and mortar. The technology that we put into airports is as important. Passengers expect technologies like biometric identification and smart phones to shorten wait times and make airport processes more efficient.”

Giving instances, IATA boss pointed to the seamless use and efficacy of biometric technologies at airports in Dubai, Doha, and Muscat.

He stressed further that African aviation regulators need to use the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) to complement their own national safety oversight activities, pointing out that “Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iran and Syria have already done so. The safety performance of airlines on the IOSA registry is three times better than airlines not on the registry.”