NAMA Risks Facility Deterioration Over 50% Cut In Revenue

Date:

 …African airlines record 10.6% cargo growth in April

By Charles Ebi 

Nigerian Airspace Management Agency ,NAMA, may have found itself in serious problems following a 50% deduction from its internally generated revenue, which affected the provision of critical navigational equipment for many of the country’s airports.

NAMA is entrusted with the critical responsibility of ensuring the safe conduct of flights within Nigeria’s airspace, including the Gulf of Guinea. This reduction, according to the Managing Director of the agency, Farouk Umar, has severely impacted its revenue, cutting it by more than half at a time the need for infrastructural and personnel development is growing.

According to him, the safety of the country’s airspace is paramount, adding that the current financial model is unsustainable. He said: “The 50% revenue deduction hinders our ability to maintain and upgrade critical infrastructure, such as our obsolete surveillance systems, which are over a decade old and urgently need replacement.

Without adequate funding, we cannot meet the high costs of procuring and maintaining essential equipment or ensuring the continuous training of our technical staff, which is vital for maintaining safety standards. “It is crucial to understand that NAMA operates on the principle of cost recovery, as ICAO recommends.

This means all charges are solely meant for the recovery of equipment and other costs incurred in service provision”. The current revenues sharing formula, according to him, allocates only 22% of the 5% airfare, contract, charter, and cargo sales charges to NAMA, despite its significant capital investment needs, noting that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ,NCAA, with fewer responsibilities as it stands currently is allocated 56%  while NAMA with all its responsibilities, gets 22%.

This formula, Umar, reiterated was skewed against NAMA despite the huge capital requirement of its investment, jeopardizing its ability to meet national and international obligations. “Restoring the full revenue allocation to NAMA is quite essential.

Doing so will enable us to address the critical needs of our infrastructure, enhance operational efficiency, and ensure the continuous training of our safety-critical personnel. With adequate funding, we can fulfil our mandate to provide safe and reliable air navigation services across Nigeria’s airspace”, he said.

By reversing the 50% revenue deduction, “We can significantly enhance air safety, ensuring that Nigeria’s skies remain safe and maintain high safety standards. We urge all stakeholders to support this necessary change for the future of our aviation sector and the safety of the flying public.

“At this junction, I find it expedient to remind our political leaders that the entire aviation system is about safety as it remains sacrosanct because there is no parking space in the sky. Safety procedures and protocols must be prepared and strictly adhered to while on the ground”, he added.

However, International Air Transport Association ,IATA, has said that African airlines recorded a 10.6%  year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in April. IATA made this known in its April global air cargo market released data for April, posted on the association’s website on Wednesday.

It revealed that the demand on the Africa–Asia market increased by 25.8 percent compared to April 2023. “April capacity increased by 18.7 per cent year-on-year”, it said.

The data showed the global air cargo markets having a strong annual growth in demand into the second quarter (Q2) of the year.

Specifically, in April year-on-year, Africa recorded 2.0% world share; 10.6% CTK; 18.7 percent ACTK; -3.1% Cargo Load Factor ,CLF, point and 42.9% CLF level. Globally, the total demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers ,CTKs, rose by 11.1% compared to April 2023 levels ,11.6% for international operations , making it the fifth consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year growth.

It indicates that the capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometers ,ACTKs, increased by 7.1% compared to April 2023 ,10.2% for international operations. Mr Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General, said: “Air cargo demand started Q2 with a solid 11.1% increase.

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