Pix from left Mr Andrew Okunuga, former MD, Nigerian Airways and VP, Aviation Safety Roundtable Initiative; Professor Pat Utomi, founder, Centre for Value in Leadership; Dr Gbenga Olowo, President, ASRTI/ART Network; Professor Anthony Kila, Professo of Strategy and Development and Professor Egwukhe Johnson, Professor of Business Administration, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State during the ASRTI/ART Network Business Breakfast meeting 2023 with the topic "Aviation in Nigeria Beyond 2023 General Election Challenges & Prospects" held at Gulfview Suites and Conference Centre, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday.

Industry think-tank group, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative ( ASRTI) has rated the aviation industry between 2015-2023 below par using campaign promises as key performance indicators ( KPI) to judge the system in that period.

The apolitical aviation-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) equally said now was a fitting time to address the sectors challenges beyond the 2023 elections having reeled out the shortcomings and otherwise of key performance indicators in the sector.

President of the ASRTI, Dr. Gabriel Olowo in his opening address at the Business Breakfast Meeting currently holding at the Golf view Hotel Ikeja themed: Aviation in Nigeria beyond the 2023 General Elections, Challenges and Prospects.

He said the future of the Nigerian aviation industry largely depends on how the country deals with the numerous challenges currently impeding its development.

He stressed tha with the 2023 general elections in view, it is quite incumbent to prepare for the future of aviation in Nigeria.

The group have an appraisal of the Nigerian Aviation in the first quarter of 2022, evaluating the response rate to the topical issues treated in its past meeting during the Buhari-led two-term administration, It stated that recommendations actually implemented stood at 6% while work on progress was 42%, however unscratched ( untouched) projects remain at 52% in 8 years stressing that however it was viewed, the industry between 2015-2023 have been below par.

Streamlining it to actual activities, he reeled out some promises like Government’s National Carrier project which status is stillbirth and the National Maintenance & Repair Organisation (MRO) which he said is unborn.

Dr. Olowo said FAAN Airport Concessioning is inconclusive but the Civil Aviation Authority Act review was successful along with that of the Nigeria Transportation Investigation Board (NTSIB).

He commended,”We’re grateful to the professionals in the CAA and the NTSIB for their dutiful role in ensuring aviation safety.

The ASRTI President also identified organisational recklessness such as failure to establish some aviation agency boards as stated in the Civil Aviation Act (CAA) which violates Section 29:1 of the Civil Aviation Act, as contained in Section 11:1 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as a glaring case.

Also queried issues of avoidable negligence in the industry including but not limited to who takes responsibility for the financial losses airlines and service providers incurred during the recent strike that disrupted business activities at the airport?

Poor communication and crisis management exacerbated the strike’s collateral damages leading to a domestic carrier reportedly losing N500 million due to MM2’s abrupt shutdown.

He said the ART strongly condemns the strike and management’s inadequate response. “With apologies, adequate compensation should be provided to all parties affected.

Regrettably, if ‘the plan of change is not higher than the pain of remaining the same, people don’t change.’

He also drew attention to well celebrated terminals and their unresolved issues stating,”The New Airport Terminal Building in Lagos commissioned by the President last year has inadequate space at the aircraft apron for parking, ditto one in Abuja obstructing the control tower.”

The light rail line in Abuja does not connect to the airport terminal building either. Were there no plans before these projects were executed? One can only hope the newly commissioned Blue and Red Line Rails in Lagos would share links with the airport terminal buildings.”

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