He equally described as unfortunate , the fact that two airlines are temporarily suspended but said safety was important in the air transport business although the suspension’s impact will be felt
Mr. Bernard who chaired the 26th League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Annual Conference made this known at the sidelines while responding to questions regarding the industry.
On the repatriation of funds he said,”For me, on the issue of non repatriation of funds by the foreign airlines, I think it is an issue that is over flogged. I don’t think at this particular point in time we should still be talking about things like this, we need to go back to the drawing board and address this thing the way we had addressed it in the past.
“Remember two years ago, we had this kind of issue that even the funds got to an amount far higher than what it is now about $750 million and here we are we are talking about $450 million that has been stocked as a result of CBN not providing funds, I think we need to give priority and I think with the sort of service that this foreign airlines have brought to us I think CBN should have given them priority in being able to repatriate their money.
” I honestly don’t understand what is happening at CBN but it really requires a lot of intervention, the government needs to address the issue.
On the effect of th current trend, he said,”Its going to affect the cost of fare, the number of people that is going to travel, cost of goods, inflation is going to go up because if you look at the Nigeria of today, majority of the goods you find on ground are imported products and they are forex related and if they are forex related.
“It means the cost of those goods are going to up and its going to affect the general masses, so I don’t understand why we can’t address this to be able to bring down inflation. If forex is in scarcity, the cost would go up, as at yesterday the black market is already doing N710, I mean it is ridiculous, the CBN needs to look into this because it would affect every industry including the one we found ourselves because this industry of today the spare parts, the training, the service, everything is dollar denominated, so if it is dollar eliminated, the impact is going to be huge, so government just need to intervene.”
On the temporary exit of two domestic airlines and their impact on the domestic industry Bernard said,”It is quite unfortunate but you know in our industry it is safety first, I want to believe that the regulator had to place safety over convenience which I absolutely agree with them.
“If the airlines need to undergo audits to ensure that the lives of citizens are protected I think it is worth it. Yes, it is going to create a sort of impact on either the number of inventory of tickets in the market place, aircraft to be used.