Experts: Poor Infrastructure, Impediment to Successful Air Transport in Nigeria

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Fola Akinkuotu
Fola Akinkuotu,

Chinedu Eze
Aviation experts have lamented that inadequate and obsolete infrastructure has impeded the growth of air transport in Nigeria.

 The experts explained that during the Harmattan haze and the rains, flight operations are impaired due to bad weather, which could be overcome with modern facilities that are currently lacking in Nigeria.

The industry stakeholders spoke during a conference on infrastructure deficit in the aviation industry organised by  the Aviation Round Table in Lagos on Thursday and said that lack of aviation infrastructure has hindered the maximisation of Nigeria’s airspace and forced airlines to operate at few hours a day.

The Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA),  Fola Akinkuotu, said the federal government has completed plans to install Instrument Landing System (ILS) in Abuja and Lagos so that flights could land at zero visibility.

 However, Akinkuotu said for the airlines to benefit from the new equipment, they must have corresponding equipment in their aircraft  and called for the training of Nigerian pilots on the technologies adopted for airspace management in the country.
According to Akinkuotu, without sufficient training of pilots on new air navigation technology; the huge investment on space based technology such as Performance Based Navigation would not achieve the desired results.

Akinkuotu said the agency is getting worried that many domestic carriers were yet to train their pilots on performance based navigation systems despite the huge commitment of funds into the project.
He added there is need for a match between provision of modern air navigation equipment and user capability.
He said the airspace agency has been grappling with epileptic power supply at airports nationwide, which has forced NAMA to spend millions of Naira on diesel for generators as secondary source of power.
Besides, epileptic power supply, Akinkuotu identified porous airports without perimeter fences as part of the challenges affecting aviation infrastructure.

 Also industry consultant and publisher of African Aviation, Mr. Nick Fadugba, said that Nigeria needs major maintenance facility in the country and called for merger of the airlines in order to benefit from the economy of scale and to code-share to make their businesses profitable.

 Also speaking, former rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT),  Samuel Caulcrick, canvassed the setting up of an Aviation Development Commission to coordinate gaps in the sector.
Such body, he said would serve as an intervention agency to drive the development of the sector, adding that such a body would be useful in addressing formulation of policies that will drive the growth of the industry.