President of the Aviation Round Table (ART), Dele Ore has called for more development of the Nigerian aviation industry eve as he decried the low level of foreign airlines investment in Nigeria, saying it is less than 10 per cent.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, Ore said foreign airlines needed to invest part of their profits in airport terminals development, hotels, ground handling services, airport fire services, banking, and insurance company and also in domestic airlines.
He also lamented that shortage of core aviation personnel in the aviation sector, saying “what you have now is ageing local manpower such as the pilots, licensed aircraft engineers, licensed avionics engineers and skilled ancillary support services.
“Since the liquidation of the Nigeria Airways many of the trained and experienced staff members have either died or retired leaving a few that are now threatened out of existence by the influx of their foreign counterparts.”
Ore described the domination of foreigners in the aviation sector as dangerous to the country, leaving many Nigerians unemployed.
He also called for the upgrading of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, saying that it would enable the college to regain its pride of place as Africa's foremost training centre to cope with ageing manpower and dwindling technical skills.
Also speaking, secretary of the ART, Mr. Samuel Akerele, recalled that Nigeria has over 60 Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with various countries, while only about 15 are being serviced. He said other agreements virtually of little benefits except for commercial income of $20,000 per seat by the foreign airline on routes not plied by Nigerian airlines.
He said, “This had led to capital flight for over two decades that Nigeria has stopped servicing the BASA. The Federal Government must review all BASA conditions, aircraft types, frequency of flight per week, double entry and designation into Nigeria.
Akerele said the process of contract tenders and awards should be made open and available to stakeholders in the industry for monitoring purposes.
ART has also said that they are not in support of national carrier, describing it as archaic and not in consonance with best practices worldwide.
The body also said that no national carrier could have the advantages to access the international or multilateral financial institution that could provide the resource base support and linkages that are open to private enterprises and operators.
The group urged the Ministry of Aviation to meet with stakeholders, particularly Board of Airline representatives to develop new areas of cooperation and investments in 2013.