Passenger Growth: ICAO, Nigeria Find Common Ground in Air Transport

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Stanley Nkwazema

The International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO has confirmed growth in both traffic and capacity by markets and ranking global airlines and airports.

The facts reported by the UN’s agency for international civil aviation stated that the world’s top three airlines by revenue-passenger kilometres were all based in the United States, with American Airlines taking the top position

The United Emirates based Emirates Airlines outranked Air France-KLM to take fourth place, thanks to growth of 8.8per cent.

Interestingly, the world’s top three busiest airports by numbers of passengers were Atlanta (ATL), Beijing (PEK), and Dubai (DXB), in that order

However, despite decrease in the number of departures, Chicago (ORD) recorded 9.8% growth in passenger numbers, making it the world’s fourth busiest airport.

At 2.2per cent, growth in global freight traffic was less than half of that recorded in 2014 (4.9per cent), reflecting stagnating world trade development. International passenger traffic also grew by 6.7per cent year-on-year in the year 2015, with the Middle East being the fastest growing region.

The highest Passenger Load Factor in ten years was recorded, reaching 80.2per cent, despite an increase in capacity offered in all regions, thanks to air carrier optimisation. North America recorded the highest load factor, approximating 83.5%.

Worldwide, passenger traffic grew by 6.8per cent in 2015 while available seat-kilometre capacity increased by 6.1per cent.

According to ICAO, these statistics were collated from its own resources and information provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Official Airline Guide (OAG), and airlines’ websites.

This is coming just as the President of the Council of ICAO), Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, has welcomed Nigeria’s confirmation of its pending financial contribution to the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for Africa.

Aliu who was in Nigeria recently, met and held high-level discussions with the President Muhammadu Buhari where they covered topics including projected aviation growth and associated human resource capacity and infrastructure challenges, ongoing threats from terrorist organisations in the region, as well as Nigeria’s potential to position itself as a leader in the provision of air services and aviation facilities including training for aviation professionals) for Africa.

Buhari who was accompanied during the discussions by Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, its Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and other high officials.

Aliu was equally joined by the Representative of Nigeria on the ICAO Council, Mr. Nwafor Emeka Martins, and ICAO’s Regional Director for Western and Central Africa, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow.

“Civil aviation in Africa is an essential enabler of growth and social development, and ICAO has been very encouraged by Nigeria’s recent leadership and commitments with respect to aviation safety, capacity, security and human resources development,” President Aliu highlighted.

“Consistent with the principles and priorities of ICAO’s No Country left behind initiative, ICAO will collaborate with Nigeria towards the enhancement of aviation training capacity here and the upgrading of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to full status as an ICAO Regional Training Centre of Excellence (RTCE). The establishment of an Aerospace University in Nigeria has also been proposed.”

According to ICAO, the senior officials included the need to strengthen the autonomy of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority and to ensure that revenues accruing from aviation activities are returned to the sector in the form of investments for training and other priorities.

It was also agreed that a concrete roadmap and masterplan for aviation development will be put in place as a follow up to the discussions held.

Aliu also met with heads of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, as well as the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. He visited the new Abuja International Airport terminal project, meteorological installations and weather forecasting facilities, and the Accident Investigation Agency’s laboratories.

The ICAO President has also had meetings with the Vice President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr.Edward Singhatey, the Executive Director and Staff of the Banjul Accord Regional Aviation Safety Oversight Organisation (BAGASOO), and the Regional Director of IATA for Africa and the Middle East, Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi. Discussions with these stakeholders focused on the need for greater collaboration and mutual cooperation between ICAO and the respective organisations for the advancement of aviation safety, security, capacity building, infrastructure development and air transport liberalisation.

In the course of the visit an MOU for cooperation was signed between ECOWAS and BAGASOO in a bid to support the Regional Safety Oversight Organisation.