By Yunus Yusuf
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says the Aviation industry will need relief and financial intervention from the Federal Government to recover from the COVID-19 effect.
The Managing Director, FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, made the disclosure at the 25th Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony organised by the League of Aviation and Airports Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is Nigeria Aviation Industry: Management, Policy and Regulations.
The MD said the devastating effects of COVID-19 would take the authority another 24 months or more for the industry to recover fully.
Yadudu said all the aviation agencies and other support services in the industry needed urgent assistance to improve their operations.
He said: “Without financial relief, I do not see a quick recovery. We need aggressive policy and we need to do much more on implementation that is very aggressive.
“As you are aware, the pandemic has put the global economy to the test, with air transport being undoubtedly the hardest hit by the pandemic.
“This is coming as statistics from the International Airline Transport Association (IATA) on COVID-19’s economic impact on Nigeria has revealed a revenue loss of 994 million dollars in 2020.
“In terms of employment at risk in Nigeria, it is 125,370 and loss of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 885 million dollars.”
Yadudu noted that the Federal Government was able to cushion the effect of COVID-19 by providing intervention funds of N5 billion to domestic airlines; funds considered paltry to save airlines from their precarious situation.
Speaking, the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema lamented the devastating effects of COVID-19 on airlines and the aviation industry at large, stating that Nigeria was not excluded from the pandemic.
Onyema said a lot had been said about airlines in the country as lack of good regulations and policies had been blamed for the myriad of problems confronting the sector.
According to him, things are developing and we hope it will be better but why are airlines failing? Can it be from the airlines themselves and other factors?
“Government policies in the recent past had been better compared to what we had in the past.
“The present government has done well in the area of policy such as customs duty waiver on aircraft spare parts and VAT and others that are favourable to the airlines,” he said. (NAN)