A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Roland Iyayi, on Friday said airlines operating in the country are in a destructive competition.
Mr. Iyayi made the assertion while speaking at a conference on “90 Years of Aviation in Nigeria’’ in Lagos.
The conference was part of activities to mark the first flight in Nigeria which flew from Cairo to Kano on Nov. 1, 1925.
He said the airlines had not been able to maximise the huge potential of the aviation sector in generating employment and contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Mr. Iyayi, who is the Managing Director of Topbrass Aviaton, said Nigeria currently boasts of 15 million travelling passengers out of a population of 170 million which accounts for only 10 per cent.
According to him, out of the 26 airports in the country, 80.2 per cent of the total traffic passes through the Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt Airports.
“I scarcely see any major airline in the country today that will survive the next three years except that there is a major injection of capital.
“The promoters of airlines don’t take time to study the market. So, they need to think outside the box and find new ways to make the industry to grow,’’ he said.
Mr. Iyayi also advised the government to enact policies that would support the growth of the sector, including the establishment of a strong national carrier like the defunct Nigerian Airways.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Muhtar Usman, said the authority was strengthening its regional offices to effectively perform its oversight functions.
“I think in 90 years, Nigeria aviation has contributed immensely to the GDP but we can do better,’’ Mr. Usman said.
The director-general who was represented by the NCAA’s Director of Administration, Aba Ejembi, however, said Nigerians should be dissuaded from seeing air travelling as an elitist thing.
On his part, Nogie Meggison, President, Airline Operators of Nigeria, urged the government to provide infrastructure and enabling environment for the aviation sector to grow.
Mr. Meggison said the aviation sector was only contributing four per cent to the country’s GDP, while that of Ethiopia was contributing 26 per cent.