[dropcap]M[/dropcap]anaging Director, Afri-Air International Limited, Capt. Shehu Iyal has said that the Very Important Persons ( VIP) movement that has become a mantra as one causal factor of delays in Nigeria is not more than five minutes.

This is just as he called on the government to intervene or provide single digit interest rates to ease burdens of airlines like aircraft leasing and insurance of which the country seems to pay more.

Iyal, who was one time Senior Special Adviser on Aviation Matters to the President made these known at the 27th League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Conference with the theme: “Aviation Industry: Changing Times, Changing Strategies

Speaking on VIP movement he said, “I disagree with you totally. It is not possible. There was never a time that the VIP movement was 30 minutes because I was in the presidency and I was involved in some of those movements. What happens is, in most instances it is not more than five or 10 minutes. 

“But there is a backlog and a buildup and it affects the aeroplanes that are on ground. The control tower has to clear the aeroplanes that are up there before it starts clearing those on the ground. But, I think nobody in his right senses and nobody who is responsible for that will create a delay for 30 minutes because of VIP.”

When asked what the government and operators can do to bring down the high prices of insurance he said, “There is a need for the government to come in either with funding or to create some kind of guarantee for the airline industry. There is no how we can continue with the current rate. All over the world, the interest is single digit. I think the government should do what they are doing now. Government dedicated some funds to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), which should be disbursed to serious minded businesses and created at a single digit interest rate. 

“Government should also do the same for the aviation industry. It should earmark funds to be accessed on a long term basis and on a single digit interest rate. That will go a long way to help airlines for the purchase and leasing of aircraft. If it is leasing the government should find a way or an organisation that can stand as a guarantor for these airlines. I think it should help a lot.”

The Afri- Air Managing Director also said the fares charged despite high cost of operations are fair enough but as it stands currently demand seems to outweigh supply.

He said, “You have to be fair to the airlines. What about the cost of aviation fuel, which you know is a major factor? What about the cost of acquisition of these aircraft, which you know is very high and you pay heavily for aircraft leasing and insurance. If you are in Nigeria, you know what we go through. 

“But overall, I think the fares should be looked into and stabilised for better conditions both for the passengers and the airlines.

“But for now, I think the demand side is higher than the supply side. And sometimes, it determines the price. Most airlines in the world don’t acquire aircraft directly; they lease.” He said



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