COVID-19: Analyst raises the alarm over imminent collapse of Nigeria’s aviation sector

AS the deadly Coronavirus continues to ravage the global community with the various preventive measures so far taken hitting hard on aviation, many have raised the alarm over the imminent collapse of the sector.

Latest to raise the alarm was the Chief Executive Officer of Belujane Konzult, Mr. Chris Aligbe who attributed his fears to the travel restriction which was imposed globally as a measure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aligbe while speaking with some newsmen said the entire spectrum of the sector vis a vis the aviation agencies, the airlines, the ground handling companies and other aviation allied support service providers were already reeling from the impact of the coronavirus-induced shutdown.

To get the sector back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic, Aligbe advocated for allocations to agencies like the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) which depends on the flights to generate revenues to run the 22 airports under its purview. According to the aviation analyst, with the suspension of flights by both domestic and foreign airlines, FAAN revenue base, both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue, has disappeared even as he declared that for airlines to remain alive after the pandemic, the government must support them with grants to stay afloat and keep people in their employ.

He said though the airlines as well as ground handling companies like the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCo) and the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) are private businesses, they contribute to the country’s GDP with the employments they create and the taxes they pay.

Aligbe noted that just like FAAN, the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) as well as the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) need some lifeline to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

Aligbe while saying NAMA which depends on overflight charges, air route charges to sustain its operation was suffering because there were no flights further said: “Every aspect of the industry is impacted particularly because of the revenues in the industry depends on the flights whether it is aeronautical or non-aeronautical. The more flights you have into an airport, the more likely businesses will develop around the airport. “The main revenue generation, the passenger sale charge (PSC), the ticket sale charge (TSC), that is the main revenue that is generated and shared among the parastatals particularly like the regulatory body that does not engage in business like the AIB and NIMET though NIMET engages in business limitedly. But FAAN engages in business and its business is dependent on a lot of flights that come in; the landing and parking charges, the rentals, and all other businesses whether you are talking about airport charges, whether you are talking about toll gate charges, duty-free shops or eateries, restaurants, it all depends on whether the people are coming, it depends on the travelling passengers and more importantly it depends on meeters and greeters.

“Now FAAN cannot get that because flights are not coming, all businesses are shut down and more importantly on the side of FAAN, they are losing both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues. They have lost it and there is no other place for them to generate any fund.”


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