THE need to attract investments, especially Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) for airports across Nigeria is something practically every investor, government official and stakeholder wants to see happen, but for the issue of going about it without carrying the entire industry along, there could have been commendable strides.
It was this gap that the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) noticed in the sector that made it initiate the FAAN National Aviation Conference( FNAC), a platform to interact holistically with conversations aimed at improving the aviation sector and apprise investors of opportunities within Nigeria.
The Conference set in Abuja from June 14-17, 2022 was not initiated this year as it was supposed to hold from the 1st to 4th April, 2020 but was truncated by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic which grounded the sector and entire world but with recovery however slow, FAAN saw the vista of opportunity to galvanize the industry and give it a direction .
FNAC is set to promote collaboration and cooperation towards the development of the industry by all stakeholders and in turn, same stakeholders feel someone is listening which is key to changing the narrative of aviation in Nigeria.
The NCAA, service providers like NAMA, NiMET, airline operators, caterers, travel agencies and others are expected to engage from their various perspectives and look at all standards and recommended practices in aviation and how they are domesticated in the country to make the industry vibrant and serve better.
This year’s theme: “Advancing the Frontiers of Possibilities for Safe, Secure and Profitable Air Transport” will enable stakeholders to brainstorm and share knowledge and ideas on contemporary developments which will provide veritable solutions to the growth of the industry as it affects Nigeria.
Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu who has mentioned at the Conference in various engagements during the last week said it is specifically designed to create a forum for the exchange of relevant industry information with all critical stakeholders so that all players are guided by the same pool of principles and practices for conformity.
He said, “We observed that in Nigeria, we don’t have any platform that is recurrent for stakeholders to sit down, assess their position, analyze it, share knowledge and take necessary steps to promote cooperation, collaboration and the general progress of the industry. It is like everyone is doing its own, we don’t sit down to collaborate and cooperate. It is when you cooperate that you have synergy.
“So, FAAN decided to arrange it, organize it and implement this national aviation conference in the interest of the Nigerian aviation industry. It is called FAAN National Aviation Conference (FNAC) because FAAN is funding it 100 per cent. We are doing it as a form of national service for the whole industry.
“It is from FAAN to all the agencies, airport stakeholders, passenger organizations, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the media, labor unions, ACI, ICAO, embassies, state governments across Nigeria and other interested organizations.
He explained the arrangement of the event saying: “There will be lectures and presentations by the industry stakeholders on their key concerns. At the beginning, FAAN was trying to develop topics for the participants, but we agreed later that participants should present papers on critical issues they want to bring to the industry. This included all the aviation agencies. Also, the airlines will present papers on their most critical areas of concerns. The event will be annually and it will be a major event for FAAN.
“The major substance is to promote collaboration and cooperation towards the development of the industry and all stakeholders. It is a Nigerian event and it is for Nigerian aviation. Things we might discuss may not be outside Nigeria. So, we will look at ourselves and discuss issues as they affect us. Nigerian experts will have much more at stake than foreign experts. So, that is why we are making it a Nigerian aviation industry issue,” Yadudu said.
In the course of this engaging conference, there will be presentations by experts and professionals in the industry including: Alicia Stephens (World Bank Group), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu (Managing Director (FAAN), Chairman Air Peace Limited, Chief Allen Onyeama, Capt Roland Iyayi Managing Director TopBrass, Emeka Offor- Ag. Executive Secretary/chief Executive NIPC and Engr. Peter Onyeri (Safety), Dr. Anne Egbadon-Eyinaya fsi, DG, NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe and Professor Adesoki Adesuga MD, NEPZA
FNAC, apart from these, will also aim at attracting local and international investors through its investment forum which would feature on 16th and 17th June, 2022 and apprise prospects with opportunities in the Nigerian aviation industry.
FNAC will market its assets towards achieving commercially viable airports (especially the Secondary Airports) as well as create access to sustainable alternatives for revenue generation at Nigeria Airports through funding and innovative ideas.
The forum will center on strategic diversification of FAAN’s revenue sources with emphasis on non-aeronautical revenue lines including but not limited to advertisement, tourism and land development.
And in achieving above objectives, the Conference will seek collaboration with State Governments and potential investors to explore the huge opportunities in the State through the airports.
It is believed that this will open up new air routes with corresponding increase in passengers traffic and liaison is expected to be win-win for all stake holders.
In addition the forum will serve as a platform to showcase commercial offering at the airports and in the respective States to attract Foreign and Local investments. This is borne out of our belief that if the opportunities in the states are adequately harnessed (especially in agriculture, tourism, solid minerals etc.), it will drive passenger traffic into these locations with its attendant chain effects signaling commercial viability of Airports.
This Conference is widely viewed by stakeholders as a laudable venture as getting everyone to solve the problems the sector faces is something that has been lacking in the industry for so long and has led to the many discordant tunes being played by policy makers, policy executors, service providers and those who use these services.
FNAC, according to the FAAN helmsman, will be an annual event that would link investors with Nigeria through the airports and provide a melting pot of ideas for stakeholders, policy makers, captains of industry as well as other allied industries including the agriculture, tourism and others, while they seek solutions to better the industry which is the window through which others view Nigeria.