Aviation Crisis: Nigeria is finished by Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor

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Just yesterday, a friend called my attention to a report by Vanguard with the caption “Domestic airlines to shut down operations with effect from Monday”.

While reading further, part of the statement said “It is with a great sense of responsibility and patriotism that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have carried on deploying and subsidizing their services to our highly esteemed Nigerian flying public in the last four months despite the steady and astronomical hike in the price of JetA1 and other operating costs.

“Overtime, aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently. No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period. While aviation fuel worldwide is said to cost about 40% of an airline’s operating cost globally, the present hike has shut up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95%.

”In the face of this, airlines have engaged the Federal Government, the National Assembly, NNPC and Oil Marketers with the view to bringing the cost of JetA1 down which has currently made the unit cost per seat for a one hour flight in Nigeria today to an average of N120,000. The latter cannot be fully passed to passengers who are already experiencing a lot of difficulties.”

Poor airport infrastructure, jet A1 fuel, bird strike, inadequate ground handling equipment, forex scarcity are among the many factors which domestic airlines say are debilitating against them and causing huge revenue loss monthly.

The importance of the aviation industry in any country cannot be underestimated. In Nigeria, the industry has been growing slowly but steadily since the pre-colonial days to the present.

Virtually all the cities with airports in Nigeria are commercial nerve centers and they are contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of the country.
However, in keeping with global trends, several challenges, such as safety concerns, high costs of aviation fuel, and highoperation costs, inadequate funding and resources, lack of skilled manpower among others haveadversely affect the sector.

Consequently, these challenges constraint the ability of service providers (airlines, airports and other essential services) in the aviation industry to meet theincreasing needs of customers. But if these challenges are addressed, they could significantly
unlock the industry’s potential for future growth. The challenges require governments to
enhance regulation of aerospace management, consumer protection and safety of airlines.

With these in place, there are a lots of opportunities and future prospects for the Nigeria aviation industry.

Aviation sector plays a vital role in facilitating economic growth and development, and provides numerous economic and social benefits. The air transport (aviation) industry consists of activities that directly involve transporting people and goods by air, which includes airlines, airports andgeneral aviation services. Some of the main economic impact of aviation arises 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. According to Air Transport Action Group (ATAG, 2014) the global economic impact of aviation (direct, indirect, induced and catalytic) is
around $2.7 trillion, equivalent to 3.5% of the world’s gro
ss domestic product (GDP) and aviation industry generates 62.7 million jobs around the world. This suggests that aviation formsa very significant part of the global economy through generating jobs directly and 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 overemphasized.The aviation industry generated 6.9 million jobs and $80.5 billion in GDP in Africa (ATAG,2014). During the 2010-2015 period, Africa was declared the third-fastest growing region in theaviation world (Armoo, 2015).

According to an article published by academia.com, globally, including the tourism impacts, Africa accounts for 12%of the jobs and 3% of the GDP supported by the aviation industry in 2012. From 2011 to 2012, African airports witnessed a 7% growth in passengers handled and of the top 20 African airports, three (3) are based in South Africa, and another three (3) in Egypt, making these two countries the biggest air transport markets in African continent. The aforementioned statistics suggest the enormous economic benefits of aviation in terms of employment and contribution to GDP of African countries’ economy, and hence provides an added incentive for African governments to
reform the sector to make it more efficient and responsive to travelers’ requirements.

Most of the highlighted challenges is not peculiar to just the aviation sector alone. Today, most businesses in Nigeria are struggling to survive. The business environment in Nigeria is becoming increasingly frustrating. Ranging from insecurity, poor Infrastructure, poor electricity supply and high cost of production.

We are in a mess because the sufferings is currently being experienced  in every sector. I remember when I was building my hotel in Lagos, The price of Diesel was around N270 per litre, but it is over N700 today. The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, are nowhere to be found in the midst of this hardship and maladministration. Infact, one can conclude that NLC is dead because it’s now part of the government itself. Everything is finished.

These challenges are due to failure in leadership by successive governments. It is due to negligence and lack of patriotism to make Nigeria better. Today, everything is failing and many have tagged Nigeria a failed nation. It is time for everyone to get involved and salvage this nation from drifting away.


One Love!

Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor is the Global President of One Love Foundation.

He writes from Canada.

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