Nigeria Seeks N1.5trn to Fix Airport Infrastructure Gap – THEWILL NEWS MEDIA


August 07, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government needs more than N1.5 trillion (about $5 billion) to fix airport infrastructure gap in the country. The above sum is contained in recent statistics provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Over the years, inadequate finances and paucity of infrastructure have been identified as some of the major challenges facing night operations at Nigerian airports.
Corroborating the AfDB data, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, said any airport that decides to expand its operations beyond dusk requires large financial status and compliance with other important conditions.
Speaking at the 26th Annual Conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) held recently in Lagos with the theme: ‘Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications,’ Nuhu said that any airport, which decides to expand its operations beyond dusk required large financial and compliance with other important conditions.
According to him, some of the conditions included adequate number of competent personnel, adequate power supply and availability of ancillary service providers, among others.
Nuhu, who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Tayib Odunowo, Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), NCAA, also mentioned inadequate infrastructure as the other major challenge confronting such a project in Nigeria.

“There are issues involving fire cover, primary and secondary power sources, provision of communication, navigation and surveillance aids, automatic weather stations and now-casting equipment among others”, he said.
Due to the inadequacy of infrastructure, Nigerian airlines are said to have lost at least N4.3 billion annually due to their restriction to operate 24 hours flight daily to the airports of their choice. It has been estimated that the country’s carriers are losing an average of N4 million per flight, N12 million in every flight, N360 million in 90 flights and N4.3 billion annually on every flight lost to sunset airport operations.
According to the COO of Ibom Air, Mr George Uriesi, this restriction has led to a huge underutilisation of aircraft fleets by the Nigerian airlines as against the global industry standards.
He added, “This is due partly because of too many impediments in the operating environment that limit airline productivity. These include limited runway availability across the domestic network, multiple operational infrastructure deficiencies, poor organisation and many others.”
In a bid to solve the challenge, Uriesi appealed to the government to prioritise airfield infrastructure and provide the necessary Instrument Landing System (ILS) and accompanying accessories for every airport, while also keeping the aerodromes open to meet the needs of airlines and other users. Besides, he advised that the government should make current, approved master plans a regulatory requirement for every airport and illegalize non-adherence to the master plans by any organisation.
“Establishing a local aircraft lessor /financing vehicle that would allow for the domiciling of aircraft payments in local currency would make a huge difference to the air transport sector in Nigeria,” he added.
Also speaking, the Centre Director at the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS), Prof. Anthony Kila, urged NCAA to encourage the airlines to succeed without the relegation of safety.
He said the aviation industry was bedeviled with a myriad of crises, stressing that the high cost of flights and shut down of airlines in a country signified a bad omen for the country.
Kila called for a total rehabilitation of the aviation industry by all the players in the sector. He also canvassed the establishment of the Bank of Aviation, which would make it easier for airlines to access foreign exchange.
“We need to act swiftly and decisively to deal with this situation so that it does not turn into an unmanageable disaster. Decisive actions in this case will require a total rethink and resetting of the way we conceive and manage our aviation manners.
“There is a prevailing idea in the general public and among too many leaders of thought, opinion molders and indeed, policy makers that aviation is a sector that services the elites or the privileged, this is however an anachronistic misconception that needs to be deliberately and assertively corrected.
“Those who know and can need to find the clarity of mind and courage of voice to explain to the rest of the society that in the times we live in and with the size and structure of Nigeria, aviation has become and will remain a basic and essential infrastructure. With such conception in mind, the role of regulators in the sector will be radically modified.”

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