- Operators Lament Declining Contribution of Aviation to GDP
The aviation sector needs to contribute immensely to the economy and improve from its present 0.4 per cent to a very significant figure, the Airline Operators of Nigeria has said.
The AON said that despite the potential of the industry and its ability to create about 200,000 direct and indirect jobs for the country, it had continued to perform below expectation.
According to data released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics, the output in the air transport sector, as well as its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, declined in 2016, as several airlines had operational issues.
The NBS noted that output in the sector declined by 4.9 per cent between 2015 and 2016.
The Chairman, AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, said the policy for economic sustenance had not been looked into by the government and other relevant stakeholders.
“That is why we are having this hostile environment today. Economic lives of these airlines have been discarded as a non-issue by the government, but the truth is that no economic/financial life, no safety, and this is what is affecting us today,” he said.
He added that the operating environment was responsible for the death of 25 airlines in the country in the last 30 years.
“If you look at the numbers carefully, all 25 cannot do it wrong; what is the reason for their death? Till the financial/economic policy is addressed to steady the airlines, what we will be having is off and on like what we are having today. Nigerian carriers, with sound policy system, can be a feeder for any major international airline that comes in because we are big enough,” he said.
Meggisson stated that the government should consider investing in aviation as a catalyst for growth as obtained globally.
According to him, one of the ways of doing this is to harmonise taxes in the industry and adopt a flat rate for the Ticket Sales Charge, which is currently five per cent.
He added, “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is a regulatory agency, just like the International Air Transport Association, which is not run as a profitable organisation. Nigeria should look at the TSC as a flat rate. We need to address issues one by one to get us to where we should be.
“More flights will come in and there will be more landings in Nigeria if we bring down these costs so that people can travel more and they won’t travel by road anymore. For Nigeria to come out of recession, it needs to spend. As they say, aviation is a catalyst for growth anywhere in the world.”