AUGUST 3, 2016
A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF AVIATION SAFETY ROUND TABLE INITIATIVE Q3/2016 BREAKFAST MEETING HELD WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2016.
Standard Maintenance Repairs Overhaul (MRO) for Nigeria – How Viable?
Dollar Scarcity: Challenge for Airlines
Over 100 professionals drawn from across Nigeria’s aviation sector participated in this meeting. They include: Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, CEO Aero Contractors; Capt Jari Williams, CEO Bicourtney Aviation Services Ltd; Mr. Bernard Bankole, President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies; Mr. Kola Olayinka, Regional Manager, British Airways; Capt. Nogie Meggison Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria; Alhaji Muneer Bankole, MD/CEO, Medview Airlines humbly represented by Mr. Animashaun L.A.; Elder Gbenga Olowo, President, ART/Sabre West Africa; members of ART, and many other professionals.
At the end of the meeting, participants resolved that:
- High maintenance costs, fuel, personal cost together with multiple charges are militating against the survival of Nigerian airlines.
- Of these factors however, maintenance costs require funding. The federal government should grant special concession to the aviation industry for the purpose of aircraft maintenance and resuscitation of the ailing industry.
- More than ever before, the justification for the establishment of a Nigerian indigenous MRO (Maintenance Repairs Overhaul) facility is relevant to the Nigerian Government Aviation Industry and all stakeholders in the face of skyrocketing rate of exchange.
- Investment in MRO facility is capital intensive and requires the collaboration of government, aviation stakeholders, and other investors. The federal government should provide the enabling environment and business friendly policies for the development and growth of domestic and regional maintenance requirement of airlines.
- The Hangar Project in Uyo Airport by Akwa Ibom State Government is commendable and deserves urgent support by the federal government, stakeholders and domestic airlines by way of patronage.
- In view of the prohibitive costs of establishing an MRO facility, the Uyo Hangar Project could serve as a forerunner for the establishment of a major standard MRO facility in Nigeria deserving the support of the federal government.
- An MRO facility in Nigeria would stem the ugly trend of airlines abandoning airplanes in foreign MROs due to our inability to our inability to meet with high maintenance costs.
- Moreover, massive infrastructural and engineering opportunities would be generated for aviation professionals and its teeming jobless youths in Nigeria, with about 60% of the manpower being Nigerians in the early stages.
- General, Forex scarcity at this time in Nigeria has impacted negatively on the economy of the country, as every sector including the aviation industry feels the heat.
- However, Forex scarcity may well turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Nigeria and it beholds on all and sundry to wake up to economic adjustment individually and collectively.
- Airlines should collaborate through mergers, alliances, and code-sharing arrangements with themselves like their foreign counterparts.
- Domestic Airlines must co-operate now or never. The era of small isolated sole airline ownership for selfish purposes is over. You either co-operate, share codes, pull resources together, remain afloat or fold up.
- Medview Airlines deserve commendation for taking a bold step for acquiring B747 Aircraft at such a challenging time, thus setting an example for other domestic airlines to follow.
- Forex scarcity has adversely affected domestic and international airlines which are also felt by travel agencies and the need for co-operation, creavity and innovation should be embraced by all industry players.
- In this vein travel agencies must explore and adopt survival imperatives, including expanding tourism potentials of our well endowed country.
- The multiple security agencies at the nation’s airports should be rationalized to manageable level; security personnel and other essential officials should be given adequate training on ethics and customer relations.
Dr. Gabriel Olowo Fnim, Fitp