COMMUNIQUE OF THE WEBINAR HELD ON THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020.
1. At the end of the discussion, the following resolutions were reached:
2. The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in new ways of doing things. Like other setbacks of the past, the industry shall overcome the challenges. In order to be victorious , there is a need for government to provide a stimulus package for the entire aviation industry to include single-digit interest loans, bank guarantees, taxes, charge and import duty waivers while also introducing subsidised cost of aviation fuel – a major cost component. The government through the Ministry of Aviation should also consider introducing a travel insurance policy to spread aviation risks beyond the industry.
The slow growth in Nigeria’s passenger traffic partly attributed to poor data records could be addressed through massive investment in durable, scalable digital data infrastructure for the industry. This could enhance growth in the industry as accurate database aids strategic decision-making. Also to be addressed are the derelict infrastructure at some of our airports which has reduced frequency and turnaround time with a direct bearing on fares and emplacement
3. COVID-19 has exposed the lack of capital retention by businesses to observe resilient contingency planning. Airlines should not depend solely on government bailout packages but should look inwards, work together, thinking outside the box and observe good corporate governance practices. Airlines should review their current business models and evolve measures that could help them cushion the effects of COVID-19 .
4. Overlapping interests means opportunity for partnership and collaboration, Aviation stakeholders need to trust, drop ego, and self interest. Consequently, airlines were advised to develop business restart plans that incorporate healthy relationship among all stakeholders in the value chain.
5. Airlines and relevant agencies should evolve measures that will build passengers’ confidence by ensuring compliance with health and safety guidelines for resumption of flights while also instituting trial runs and internal self auditing.
6. The elimination of middle seats on airplanes could worsen cost implications for airlines and will not achieve the social distancing objectives that informed such move, rather emphasis should be placed on the implementing of the health safety guidelines highlighted by Operators, FAAN and the NCAA
7. The WEBINAR welcomed a gradual re-opening of the nation’s airports beginning with four to five airports in the coming weeks, taking cognizance of strict compliance with health& safety guidelines while urging FAAN to address the rowdiness in and around the airport premises as part of its guidelines.
8. The meeting applauded the plans by the NCAA and other agencies to begin the process of automation of their operations to reduce human-to-human contacts and physical presence at their offices by service consumers; however an integrated Aviation unified shared service digital infrastructure should be adopted as a cost efficient measure*
9. The WEBINAR further recommended that the anticipated government’s stimulus package should have as a deliberate policy guideline, the protection from job loss attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic for compliance by all operators in the Nigerian Aviation Industry.
10. Nigerian government and aviation authorities must protect Nigeria’s investments, airlines and commonwealth through policies and a review of skewed Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) to conform the prevailing global aero politics.
11. The NCAA should promulgate policies and guidelines to enable a maximum utilization of the extant domestic cargo opportunities in the Aviation industry as obtainable in other climes to cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19.
12. The NCAA should set minimum standard and regulate handling charges as obtained globally to protect the interest of local handling companies and to increase government revenue.
13. FAAN should review some charges and the payment of 5% fees of total revenue by handling companies while the handling companies were encouraged to work together using the platform of Ground Handling Association to mitigate corporate threats.
14. The meeting agreed that Aviation Security should be digitised in passenger processing using the single facilitation while manual baggage screening by customs and other agencies should be discarded. Additionally all airlines should introduce Advance Passenger Information Service (APIS) and Computer Assisted Pre-Passengers Screening (CAPPS).*
15. The WEBINAR advocates the establishment of a special transport bank to address financial needs of the entire transportation industry.
16 The unwholesome practice during aircraft docking on arrival at MMIA, whereby aircraft are towed after engines shutdown should be urgently resolved as it was time consuming and embarrassing to the country. The meeting called on the responsible agency to train and approve the marshallers pending the fixing of the AGNIS System.
17. All Aviation industry organisations should put in place appropriate training framework to re skill and prepare their staff to function effectively in the “new normal.*
For ART PRESIDENT