former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Engineer Benedict Adeyileka, Chief Executive of Ezuma Jets, Captain David Augustine have that any policy produced which kills local operators and encourages foreigners kills the nation’s economy.
This is just as another player, Chief Executive of JetWest Mobility, Dikko Nwachukwu has highlighted opportunities for Africa that have manifested in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic stressing that tapping into these will give luxury operators required boost.
The three were speakers at the launch of Avantefly mobile app at the Marriott Hotel, Ikeja Lagos last week,speaking on issues surrounding luxury travels and how much of an impact the Avantefly app would have in aiding to raise the bar in that sphere of travel.
Adeyileka who is also the former Rector, International Aviation College (IAC), while speaking explained policies need to be made to encourage private jet operators because it is not about the individual business but its contribution to the economy.
He said there must be enough encouragement so that people can actually use savings or borrow from banks to purchase assets for business and be confident that the policies will protect them as a lack of local content meant foreigners had access to the huge market and were cashing out.
He said,”We must have a situation where we must encourage people to go out either use their savings or borrow money from the banks and buy this aircraft and bring it here. once we do that internally, we can now discourage people that will come from outside the country get all our business because of lack of transparency and capacity and they take the money and take it away. They don’t employ our pilots, they don’t employ our engineers, they might use our dispatchers but …so I am looking deeper and deeper, when you look at it, I like to look inward. We must encourage all these airlines to prosper.
“It not just about the airline or owner of the airline but it is about the economy of the country, the only way we can stop these leakages we have now is to have our own manpower development, is to have our own internal development. I don’t want a situation where there is lack of capacity and people from outside the country will come inside the country and take the market.
“A Nigerian pilot stands high, a Nigerian engineer stands high we should encourage our own.” He said.
Following the same trend, Private Jet Operator Captain David Augustine stressed that there was huge potential in the business and the nation is yet to see the importance and so have barely scratched the surface.
According to him, Nigeria is ranked up there as one of the three largest private jet markets in the world and that the nation deserves the best.
He stressed that Avantefly has positioned themselves at the right place, the right time and with the right strategy poised to help unlock this huge but latent potential but stressed that for operators more government support is needed.
He said,”Private jet industry is a different ball game here, there is a lot of things that need to be done we need help and apart from the fact that we need help; we need encouragement and trust me, NCAA is doing a lot now it is doing their best I can walk into any office and get the help I need, they are making it easier for us.
“We need support, we need things to improve faster and lets not think that because we are Africans or Nigerians we don’t know better,No! I fly half of my life with white counterparts and the truth is we are better pilots, I see people make decisions of flying into thunderstorms and I say No, I’m a black man I don’t want to die!
“When I was coming in, I was told only the rich could fly private jets but that is not true, there is something called seat sharing, I personally went to Trade Fair market to talk to people and I have four clients , initially they said, ‘you know what we have been looking at private jets for those guys up there’ and I said no, you can afford it.
“We need the government to help us out there with easier policies, licenses coming out,make AOCs easier but understand that because we are Nigerians we don’t have to cut corners.
He further called out to Nigerians not to de-market the 5-November as that was one of the reasons it was considered low resell value with extremely high risk premium. According to him, such things are not needed as Nigerian registered aircraft are safe, even safer than others but the perception has affected a lot.
Captain Augustine said,”We need Nigerian planes to stop being profiled. Its high time 5-November(5N) stopped losing value at the point of selling the aircraft and how do we do that? we need to..our maintenance facilities which is one of the things that kill the industry.
“When I want to fix my aeroplane I have to take it all the way back to the US. But we have people we have engineers , i know because I hired some of them, I have in-house engineers,m I have In-house pilots as a matter of fact I can maintain my aircraft here in my hangar, I don’t have to take it out. I have so many people who are out there who want to come back because this is a huge industry that has not been scratched.
“I want us to understand that the private Jet industry is an industry that can bring so much change into the Nigerian economy.”
Chief Executive Officer of JetWest Mobility, Dikko Nwachukwu who spoke on the future of luxury travel commended Avantefly for the forum to have a melting pot of ideas as well as the mobile application which he says will revolutionize the way luxury travel operates in the country and beyond.
According to Nwachukwu, with the positioning of Avantefly it can dictate the future of luxury travel and with its partnerships, it has become a great catalyst in making the industry sit up and look at what is going on and drive a change process with knowledge of what the market wants at every given time.
He added, “Now, they’ve been quite a few global studies on what the biggest worry of Covid-19 is and 90% of that state that people will not travel when there is any form of friction or encumbrance from the Covid-19 tests to the Covid-19 policy around the world. The fact that we are not sure if the vaccines taken here will be accepted in Europe or not but I think that brings up a lot of opportunities, opportunities for inbound tourism across Africa and creating experiences for our people.
“Looking inwards to see how we can grow our own industries, here in Nigeria, we have a lot of resources , across West Africa we have a lot and brothers in East and Southern Africa have been doing this for a long time, how do we key into this? How do we propel an go to have these experiences here…
“Opportunities are vast. one area where I see a lot of opportunities is partnerships and that is why we are glad with what Avantefly is offering. Whether its private jets, hotels, luxury car services these are important to the luxury charter business, when I can come to your website and see that you have partnerships with some of the biggest brands globally, it gives confidence.