Nigeria is long overdue for a world class Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility to serve the domestic and regional maintenance requirements of the aviation industry and provide support for the aircraft leasing business.
This was the position of the Chief Executive Officer at the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services (BASL), Captain Jari Williams at the breakfast meeting organised by the Aviation Round Table (ART), a non-governmental body, but made up of professionals in Lagos last week.
According to Williams, a MRO is, no doubt, a critical and very important aviation infrastructure.
While saying the vision of a world class MRO was first conceived by the Akwa Ibom State Government with an implementation plan put in place, he, however, lamented that, “Unfortunately, and to the detriment of the Nigerian aviation industry, this noble vision was truncated due to the absence of the much required support from the stakeholders, who ordinarily should have charted a roadmap for implementing the project.”
For the CEO, investing in a MRO is known to be extremely capital intensive, which requires significant collaboration with other industry stakeholders, and the rate of return on investment (ROI) is rather slow.
To attract willing investors, Williams said the government of the day has a key role to play especially by providing juicy incentives and business-friendly policies.
“With regret, we look back at the failure of past governments in providing the required leadership to undertake this sort of project. Similarly, they failed to put in place necessary policies and legislative framework for such a project to rest on.”
While maintaining that an MRO facility was critical to the sustainability of the aviation industry, particularly in developing the capacity for maintenance of aircrafts from A to D checks, Williams cited the effort of Akwa Ibom State government to build a national hangar with little or no cooperation from the Federal Government.
He maintained that establishing an MRO “requires some sort of subvention and support by government with other incentives like tax waivers, provision of low interest rates, approval of pioneer status, designation as Free Trade Zone, a well-defined policy, funding from institutional lenders such as the African Development Bank or the World Bank, technology transfer, as well as collaboration with foreign manufacturers and governments, in order to create an environment in which the industry can thrive.”