- Regulator reveals positive paradigm shift in aircraft acquisition in Nigeria
- Says Nigeria under travelled with just over 9million passengers annually
NIGERIAN Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said to grow the aviation industry, it is looking at a policy for developing general aviation with initial plans to unbundle the regulations and create regulations that would serve both big commercial airlines and general aviation business.
This is just as the regulator has said that Nigeria is under travelled judging by population and current travel figures as air travel has a lot of potential especially with the arrival of new entrants and the diversification of fleet away from the normal 737-Classics the industry would be more vibrant and competitive.
Speaking on the General Aviation situation, Director General of the NCAA, Captain Nuhu Musa said with the development of general aviation there would be an increase in manpower as well as creation of more employment for the droves of unemployed pilots and engineers in the labour market stressing that a successful aviation industry is built on general aviation.
According to him, separate regulations need to be made to accommodate large airliners and those who do crop dusting, or corporate charter cannot operate like those flying jumbo jets and these were areas that would be looked at for review.
He said, “Obviously when you talked about general aviation you touched something very close to my heart. General aviation is the basis for any successful aviation industry, go to anywhere in the world. For successful aviation industry General Aviation is key and it is the basis, general aviation provides the people, they provide experience, they provide experience personnel, they provide experience management staff, they provide experience engineers and when they go to big airlines it costs them less to train them because they have experience not direct from flying school. READ ALSO: United Nigeria Airlines AOC ready as other new entrants set to get approvals
On the promotion of a general aviation policy, he said that the civil aviation act is in front of the national assembly and would be passed soon hopefully to guide the organization towards its mandate.
He said,“We are going to do a stakeholder meeting for the review of our regulations. We need to ‘de-clutter’ our regulations; we need to unburden our regulations. The general aviation has to be different from the commercial airlines, they are not the same risk and so we need to unbundle those regulations. General aviation could be charter flights, agric spraying, it could be small tourism aircraft maybe I have small money I buy a small plane and want to be flying about, air ambulance, there are so many areas of general aviation but right now regulations are bundled.
“Somebody flying corporate 12 people you are asking me for the same requirement as somebody flying a triple seven (777) to Dubai it doesn’t make sense, so when we unbundle those regulations it opens up the industry and what that does, all those excess pilots and excess engineers that don’t have jobs they will be absorbed, they will get experience and move on to the bigger airline industry and then those people.
“I don’t know what will finally happen when we review or regulations, it might give us more freedom, it might bring in more restrictions, I don’t know. So our regulations have to comply with our civil aviation act once that is done, we will review that. We don’t do it on our own, we will call stakeholders they will partake too, and we just don’t do this on our own.” He said.
On the arrival of potential new entrants into the market and their current choice of aircraft, the DG was proud of the diversification stating that airlines were beginning to learn to use the right equipment in the Nigerian market.
He also stressed that Nigeria as a country with over 200 million as population and nine (9) million as flying public also showed there was untapped potential since the market is available but untapped.
“What is the population of Nigeria? How many passengers travel domestically before covid-19? What percentage of Nigeria is that? If it is six or five per cent of the Nigerian population that tells you that Nigeria is under-travel. There is a huge market there. Nigerian market is not mature enough. There is a huge opportunity there for the Nigerian market to grow. That is why you see that many airlines are coming up in the country. We have Green Africa Airways, NG Eagle and so many other airlines coming up. I am sure that Green Africa Airways, NG Eagle are the next to fly. The market is there. It is economics.
“Unfortunately, because of the condition of the roads, a lot of people prefer flying by air. So, the demand is growing and that is why you see many airlines growing. I can tell you that out of the 9 million that are said to be travelling within Nigeria, only probably one million people are flying regularly. So, maybe only one or two million people travel in Nigeria, in a population of 200 million. It is still a virgin market. If we uphold our policies and strategies, we will make a friendly-environment in the industry and it will grow.”
On aircraft type being operated Captain Musa said, “You mentioned not using the right aircraft but now I see people using the Embraer 145, the CRJs the ATRS72-600 now there is a paradigm shift and I can see Air Peace has brought an E2-195 and it says in no time it would be replacing all its 737.
“ United Nigeria is using an E145, Green Africa brought in ATR 72 and one starting documentary processes that wants to use Embraer 145, Chanchangi wants to come back they want to use the ATR. The demand is there but the thinking is changing ‘this 737 business is not working for us’ so the economics of things are forcing the change, a positive change in the industry and we too Nigerians we have understand that these turboprops are as safe as any aircraft.”