Airline operators seek special funding for domestic Operators

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By Gabriel Agbeja

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has urged the Federal Government to  provide a window of  “special funding” for operators of local airlines in the nation’s aviation sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of  Top Brass Aviation Limited, Capt. Roland Iyay, made the call on behalf of the AON during a visit to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyomo in Abuja on Monday.

He said the call for provision of a window of special funding for operators in aviation was necessitated due to the nature of the aviation business and its growing contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“We are just asking for a special funding window that should be of a single digit and that is easily accessible.

“We want FG to create a special funding window for domestic Airlines for capital assets acquisition and consider providing the necessary support of domestic Airlines for competitive funding through World renowned funding organisations such as EXIM / EDC / AFREXIM Bank.

“We plead for immediate revision of all ill-conceived stifling policies inimical to industry growth, adoption of an annual simulator recurrent check for flight crews and the adoption of the manufacturers’ recommended maintenance service intervals.

“Just as it is enshrined in the Aircraft Type Maintenance Planning Document (MPD) by the Nigeria Civil Aviation of Nigeria (NCAA),“ he said.

He appealed to FG for immediate review of all Industry taxes, fees and charges to determine applicability and quantum in line with the cost recovery model of the aviation Parastatals.

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Iyayi reiterated the establishment and provision of a dedicated support line for domestic Airline Operators to unfettered access of Foreign Exchange through the Central Bank of Nigeria in support of local and international transactions.

He called for facilitation, liberalisation, procurement and distribution of Jet-A1 nationwide and allowing the AON to procure requisite licenses for product importation and distribution through strategic partnerships.

According to him, the government should ensure  immediate prioritisation of a modernisation programme for passenger and handling equipment at major Airports for the efficient management of passengers and associated baggage.

“The government should prioritise the immediate installation and commissioning of bird hazard management equipment and FOD programmes at all Airports nationwide to enhance safety, reduce aircraft damage and increase insurance premiums.

“Embracing the PPP model with prospective investors for the establishment, tooling  and operation of local MRO facilities and providing special incentives to encourage increased investments in the sector.

“Also, immediate cancellation of all existing 8th and 9th freedom rights allocated to foreign Airlines operating within the country and encouraging such carriers to codeshare with domestic Airlines,“ he said.

He called for the immediate renegotiation of all existing Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA)’s and Multi lateral Aviation Safety Agreement (MASA)’s in line with the provisions of Single African Air Transport Market (SATAAM).

According to him, the agreement should be with emphasis on the principle of reciprocity in favour of domestic Airlines aspiring to expand operations into the international and Sub-regional markets.

He prayed the government to constitute a committee with membership drawn from Key industry stakeholders.

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He added that the committee ought to be headed by the International Air Transport Association (AITA) to review and update the industry civil aviation policy document in line with global standards and trends.

Iyayi urged FG to initiate immediate conduct of exhaustive fiscal and personnel audits of all aviation Parastatals, to determine actual needs and gaps in line with their cost recovery model as enshrined in their various enabling Acts.

The senior member of AON said the skewed workforces in favour of technical Personnel ought to be addressed.

He suggested immediate removal of all technical aviation Parastatals from the remit of the public service structure for the formal introduction of remuneration and conditions of service packages consistent with Industry standards for effective and qualitative recruitment and retention strategy.

Responding, Keyamo said the federal government would tactically address issues raised by the AON, to create a more conducive environment for the aviation sector to advance in favour of the Airline operators.

He, however, called on  the association to address incessant flight delays,  flights rescheduled and flights cancellation bothering passengers. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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