In an effort to ensure better airport facilities, seamless travel and increased revenue, government has been called upon to allow airports in the country to generate their own power supply.
Mr. Herbert Odika, an aviation consultant and former Director of Operations at Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Limited (NAHCO) in an interview with aviation correspondents in Lagos noted with concern that aviation in Nigeria has taken a nose dive in terms of infrastructural development.
Odika explained that airports will continue to remain stagnant if power supply remained epileptic with generating plants consuming a huge chunk of its revenue generation.
“1000KVA generator that they run at the airport uses a drum of diesel every hour and a drum of diesel is about N300,000. So, how do you become viable if you look at your overhead cost. The government should allow airports to generate their own power, that will bring a huge saving to the airport especially the few major airports in Nigeria,” Odika said.
According to the aviation expert, Nigeria Airports are not viable in spite of the commissioning of terminals, adding that passengers traffic had not been encouraging compared with the population of the country.
“An airport that cannot boast of 50 flights a day is not seen in the eyes of any private investor as viable. The over head cost of Abuja and Lagos airports are carrying are not the best for concession. It’s not viable at all in terms of power issues, cost of tickets are not affordable and this has had a ripple effect on flights in 2018.”
He explained that foreign airlines operating into the country have been complaining of operating costs such as taxes saying it is their passengers that now bear the brunt.
Odika explained that the country was gradually moving away from civil aviation to compromised aviation in the sense that with the country’s national carrier then, around 2004 when Nigeria airways was finally liquidated, there were a lot of crisis because the domestic airlines relied on the national carrier to get certain things to keep them going.
He noted that the liquidation made it difficult for the airlines to be on their own and started compromising and the industry started having issues with the regulatory body as a result of the regulator allowing airlines to pay inspectors’ bills then.
Odika noted that airline operators took a lot for granted and urged the NCAA to live up to expectation if the country will move forward. He noted that since aviation thrived on safety, speed and accuracy, having a compromised regulator will jeopardize the sector if the regulator allows airlines to pay for inspectors’ bills.
Odika stressed further that no operator with Boeing 737 aircraft will survive operating in Nigeria. According to him B737 was meant for a long haul and not for domestic operations, adding that it was difficult for domestic airlines to have a clean record for 5 years because they were not making money due to operating the aircraft type and absence of code sharing between domestic airlines operators.
Speaking on the subject of airport concession, Odika said it has to do with administrative and technical issues that must be in place saying that it was viable to concession airports but operators of the airport must be willing to give airlines incentives to survive at the initial stage.
The former Nacho operations director urged airlines personnel in the country to engage themselves in airline training to understand how to be profitable saying that there was the need for them to diversify. He noted that the country will fail it they relied on airport operations to survive stressing that airport car parks which ought to be major source of revenue were not properly managed in the country.
According to Odika, having a duty free shops at airports will not sell because it is not our culture and called for the setting up of an Aero zone around the airport to generate revenue.