The Aviation Round Table (ART), a think-tank organisation in the aviation sector made up of industry experts, has advised the federal government to review upward, the minimum number of aircrafts required for commercial airlines from the current two to between 10 and 20.

The body said this would enable the airlines operate with high capacity, economy of scale and ensure their survival, noting that currently Nigerian airlines operate small with minimum of two aircraft capacity that contributes to their short lifespan of average of 10 years.

This was part of the communiqué issued by the ART after a breakfast meeting in Lagos recently, as the body looked at how airlines could survive, operate safely and profitably.
The experts noted that as the federal government works towards the establishment of a new national airline, a level playing field should be provided for all players in Nigeria’s aviation industry in order to allay the fears among existing airlines that the planned national carrier would undermine their operations, as government might introduce policies that would promote the national airline at the detriment of the private sector driven carriers.

ART also urged aviation agencies to conduct a study on the role of owner-manager syndrome in the collapse of local airlines over the years, with a view to addressing it.
The body also called on the aviation agencies with technical shortfalls to address them by exploring training opportunities in various fields, saying aviation waits for nobody.

In addition, the agencies were also urged to look inwards where human capacity is insufficient in line with the various executive orders on local content.

On aircraft leasing, ART advised that the NCAA should notify the Nigerian judiciary on the implications of issuing court rulings that defy the Cape Town Protocol, an international agreement to which Nigeria is signatory, which allows lessors to take back their aircraft leased to the airlines when the later failed to abide by the agreement reached before the conduct of the transaction.

On the lack of airfield lighting at the domestic runway of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, known as Runway 18L, ART called on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to expedite action on the repair of night landing facilities as a matter of urgent concern while they also challenged the agency to address the seeming “mis-communication between its marshallers and pilots in command.”

ART said government should as a matter of urgency and critical safety concern address the shortfall in air traffic controllers and engineers because inadequate personnel in the two areas may affect safety of flight operations in the country.

ART also commended the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) for improved technical training, equipment optimisation, international collaboration and the gradual release of accident reports and enjoined the bureau to go further by pushing for the implementation of safety directives as stated in some of these reports.

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