Aviation in Nigeria has been adjudged the most resilience in the world as evidence in the way and manner the industry trudged along at the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 against the performance in the most advanced clime renown for efficient management of aviation, the United States of America, USA.
One of the pieces of evidence adduced for Nigeria to have earned such accolade was when the world mid last year, 2020, started gradual removal of restrictions on air travel, Nigeria as a destination still command better load factor than what obtained in Europe and the United States of America, USA.
The Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, Engr Akin Olateru, gave the verdict in a chat with the leadership of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents, during a courtesy visit to his office.
Engr Olateru was of the opinion that the government excellently managed the effect of the pandemic last year and he adduced two of three self-evident truths to shore up the notion of resilience in Nigeria.
He said when the comity of nations granted partial restriction in most nations and limited flights were allowed yet, “the flight from Houston to London, they combined three days flights together they were still not up to 50 per cent. Yet coming to Nigeria, the flights were always full”, he argued.
Another aspect Olateru raised was about the nay-sayers, who made series of forecasts that a certain percentage of airlines would fizzle out and the collapse of aviation in Nigeria post-COVID-19 was imminent, he said, they were all proved wrong as evidence on ground is to the contrary, Olateru opined.
The AIB helmsman averred that “besides that aviation in Nigeria is slightly different from other parts of the world. We beat all this world’s analysts because we have very different peculiarities”.
Shoring up evidence to buttress the claim of the resilience of aviation in Nigeria, he demanded a cursory observation of the performance of domestic travel and the load factor of international airliners plying different destinations in Nigeria as shreds of evidence that proved beyond doubt the resilience of air transport in Nigeria.
Olateru thus urged, “look at our domestic and international operations, while most flights around the world are going half, ours is full. If you want to fly to Abuja and you don’t book three or four days ahead, you are not going anywhere. Meanwhile the passenger load factor is still there”.
He gave kudos to the federal government in the manner the pandemic was managed, also in the way protocol for travel was developed and enforced in all facets of air travel and on the systematic and gradual restart of air travel up to what presently obtained.
The commissioner enthused, “i think the government has really done well from the way they have managed the pandemic so far, considering the rate of infection and the lower death toll”.
Passing a verdict on the industry’s performance so far, and the extent of resilience observed while taken cognizance of Nigeria as a developing nation as reflected in the level of her external reserve which is one of the indices to determine a rich or poor nation, Olateru affirmed, “I can tell you that we have done well than most of the richest countries, even though we are not the richest, but we have done excellently well.”
Engr Akin Olateru however offered a word of caution to all players in the industry to keep up with the recommended standards and practices their duty posts demand, so as to make each and every flight safer and pleasurable for passengers.
Meanwhile, proof of the resilience of the air transport industry in Nigeria and its very robust potentials abound. The Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt Musa Nuhu, had just given an indication of how smart investors are already making in-road at this lean period with well-founded optimism of large harvest in due course.
A few of the new entrants are United Nigeria. The airline reached for the skies barely 24 hours after receiving its Air Operating Certificate, AOC. The first flight was sold out. Despite the fact that the ticket sales portal was opened in less than 24 hours to the inaugural flight. The airline got its AOC on 11th February 2021, and made its inaugural flight on 12th February 2021, all seats sold out.
Other shreds of evidence that speaks to the industry’s resilience and enormous potentials are the fact of the numerous organizations that are on the queue to procure AOC. And those that have gotten and are gearing up to launch their operations in style.
Apart from United Nigeria that has launched its operations, others on the queue are Green Africa Airways, which will be using ATR 42, 72. Nigerian Eagle. Chanchangi it was reliably learnt has begun the process of procuring an Air Operating Certificate, AOC. Nigeria Transport Hub heartily salute the foresightedness of investors and says to all, bon voyage!!!Share