Nigeria’s aviation industry has the potential to contribute four per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the paltry 0.1 per cent it currently remits to the Federation account.
President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Dr. Gabriel Olowo, disclosed this to Naija247news at the weekend in Lagos.
He lamented the lack of patronage of airlines by many Nigerians, noting that less than 10 per cent of the 200 million people take to air travel, describing it as not impressive.
He cited smaller countries such as United Arab Emirates and Singapore, which are far less the size of Lagos State recording over 50 million passengers because of the deliberate policies to make their airports hub of aviation.
He recalled that in 2015, the Aviation industry supported 254,500 jobs and contributed $940 million (N184.7 billion) to national GDP.
He said of this sum, 49 per cent ($462 million or N90.8 billion) was a direct output of the aviation sector, while 51 per cent constituted indirect jobs via the supply chain.
His words: “Hostile investment environment and the absence of industry developmental policies, among other challenges, the airlines are in dire strait. The Nigerian airspace presents itself as a shorter route for aircraft traveling to the American continent from Asia.”
It is often the bride of most international airlines. However, Nigeria aviation sector is full of bottlenecks and delays that are designed to exploit and strangle the growth of the industry.
Olowo stated that additional $464 million (N91.2 billion) is derived from tourism, which raises the overall contribution to $1.4 billion (N275.9 billion), stressing that in 2010, total 8.3 million passengers contributed 0.4 per cent.
He noted that the carriers are bedevilled by high cost of aviation fuel otherwise known as JET A1; high and multiple taxes, ageing fleet and underutilisation of aircraft among others.
He said that most airline operators in Nigeria spent about 40 per cent of their operation costs on aviation fuel, adding that sometimes it goes beyond 40 per cent.
The Federal Government could intervene in the issue by reviving the Warri refinery, Atlas Cove and Mosemi pipelines –hydrant system used to supply aviation fuel.
Operators argued that the pipelines that supplied aviation fuel to the airport before it was shut down by the late General Sani Abacha-led military regime in January 1996, were fully functional.