Industry consultant and CEO of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe has commended the plan by the federal government to concession major airports in the country.
According to him, the move would revitalise and develop Nigeria’s airport infrastructure.
Speaking at the 15th Akwaaba African Travel Market on Aviation Day, in Lagos, Aligbe said it was obvious that government does not have the money to develop and maintain airports in Nigeria, adding that currently, Nigeria cannot boast of a standard African airport, so the private sector should be made to inject funds in airport development through concession.
Aligbe, who joined others to discuss the topic ‘Impact of Airport development and airlines on tourism growth’, said government could establish a national carrier with not more than five percent equity in order to have a sovereign cover for it, but the best way to turn the airports in the nation around is by concessioning.
“In Nigeria we do not have an African standard airport and if we don’t create it we may never have a headway. Concessioning is mandatory for us, the labour unions may protest but that is the only solution.
“The decision to concession four international airports is the best decision because government does not have the money to invest in airports.
“We have a lot more complex situation than Ghana because of our peculiarity so we need to resort to concession, government cannot do it. the idea that concession would engender poor security situation is not to be an excuse.
“If we want to join the comity of developed aviation, we must take a step. We have also not created the infrastructure and standard for tourism to grow, we cannot separate aviation from tourism, we need strong airlines and infrastructure for tourism to grow “, he said.
Speaking on the planned national carrier, Aligbe who lamented that the country had attempted to float national carrier 10 times without fruition, said there was still need to have a national carrier, advising that government should not have full control over it like the defunct Nigeria Airways.
“Five percent equity is not enough for government to control the airline but enough for it to give it a sovereign cover”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Africa World Airline (AWA), Sean Mendis has explained the reasons chose Accra, Ghana instead of Lagos, Nigeria as its operational hub in West Africa, despite the fact that the market is in Nigeria.
He said the Ghanaian government reduced all taxes and has created a friendly and enabling environment for aviation and general businesses to thrive, adding that the airline would not operate in a place where the charges are unbearable and weighing down airlines businesses.
Apart from the newly built terminal in Accra, which he described as world class, he said: ‘Ghana is reducing VAT on airlines and with the good terminal, it may not be as large as the one in Singapore, but it is a world class terminal. Ghana is more suitable and more business friendly for us to operate.
“We operate 34 times a week from Accra to Abuja and many airlines are now preferring to connect from Accra because of lower landing fees and conduciveness, Ghana is the best place to go. But with good infrastructure and friendly environment, Nigeria can continue to attract more traffic and connections’, he said.