Aviation Sector: When A Rejig Is Imperative

Aviation Sector: When A Rejig Is Imperative

Our aviation sector is neither unique nor different from those of other climes but perhaps only in its negative elements that have characterised its operations over the years.

We cannot talk critically about the aviation sector without a reminder that it contributes immensely to the socio-economic development of any country.

Notwithstanding the enormity of the sector’s contribution in keeping with global trends, several challenges, such as safety concerns, high costs of aviation fuel, and high operation costs, inadequate funding and resources, depleting skilled manpower, and among others have adversely affected the sector.

Air transport sub-sector, the main adjunct of the aviation industry, consists of activities that directly involve transporting people and goods by air, which includes airlines, airports and general aviation services. 

Aviation history is replete with stories of economic impact arising from its ability to generate employment opportunities, wealth and effectively supporting global businesses and tourism and offers countries, especially developing ones, the opportunity to facilitate trade and enable linkages in the global supply chain. 

Cost of aviation fuel and sometimes lack of the same, poor infrastructure, depleting and unserviceable fleet, poor security among others have continued to conspire against the once cherished sector which has become a shadow of itself.

From hindsight, the Air Transport Action Group, ATAG, in 2014 noted that the global economic impact of aviation ,direct, indirect, induced and catalytic, was about $2.7trn, equivalent to 3.5% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product ,GDP, and aviation industry generates 62.7 million jobs around the world. The significant part of the global economy is generating jobs directly, indirectly and providing a transportation platform for global businesses to grow.

In addition, it has catalytic effects in areas such as trade, tourism and consumer welfare. Therefore, its role in facilitating economic growth in developed and developing countries cannot be overemphasised.

Although most businesses in Nigeria are struggling to survive, the aviation sector may be about the worst hit. These concerns are becoming increasingly frustrating; ranging from insecurity, poor infrastructure, electricity supply and high cost of production.

 The Ministry of Aviation must continue to strive in making sure that all the airports in the country are secured. Though, the ministry has assured the public that security measures are in place to forestall any attack on the airports across the country.

Only recently, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that Nigeria would deploy more investments aimed at the provision of infrastructure and facilities for safe, secure, environmentally friendly and sustainable civil aviation in the country. It is yet to be seen how far this optimism of the government would play out.

Nigeria, as a long-standing member of International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, since 1962, ought to have grown its own aviation sector beyond the current pedestrian it now finds herself.

However, there is a clear case to be made for huge investment in the aviation sector but with the recent attacks on the country’s airports, especially in the North, experts have raised concerns on the rationale behind investing in a sector where the country has almost zero stake.

It is embarrassing that Nigeria is yet to own any massive revenue yielding investment in the nation’s aviation sector. We do not even have a national carrier to justify money being thrown into the sector.

Almost eight years into the life of this administration, the government has not delivered on its Aviation Development Roadmap unveiled in 2015, which is expected to create a better aviation industry in Nigeria.

With just a few months for this administration to wind down, the roadmap, which looks good and promising on paper may still remain an illusion for a while.

The national carrier has sadly missed take-off dates four times since its unveiling in 2018. That is our sorry state that needs urgent attention.

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