ELDER Gbenga Olowo has advised the government of Nigeria to start influencing things around the nation’s air carriers flying internationally if they truly want these airlines to thrive and fly the flag instead of designating them and leaving them to fend for themselves.
Speaking at the 23rd League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents ( LAAC) Conference, 2019 held at Radisson Blu Ikeja, Olowo also called for a solid policy thrust, stable regulatory framework, stable political environment to ensure the aviation sub sector is strengthened.
The Aviation Round Table (ART) President who spoke on the trending issue of aero politics said it is simply not enough for airlines to be allocated routes internationally without government influencing the way things happen at the other end.
Olowo said,”Well, aeropolitics is politics, and if you look at the grammar of politics, the grammar of politics basically address the area of influence which is very important in politics. Our people in government especially the ministry of aviation, and the CAA must be able to influence a lot of things with our carriers. When our carriers approach them, they must not see them as a disruption.
“For instance, if we give birth to a national carrier tomorrow, and the ministry or the CAA do not follow the objective to the letter, and they just say you are designated to China or to London without influencing the way things happen at the other end with government influence, that airline won’t survive.
“We heard during the conference the slot that Nigeria Airways was using, how Arik couldn’t get it on time. Arik as a carrier is a player coming to compete with their own carrier, so there will be unseen resistance, despite what you call anti-competitive rule. But the influence of our government is vital, number one, politics involve power also, it involves authority.
“Both power and authority we should not throw it away in politics. What is power? When ADC was grounded in London our former president Abacha grounded British Airways here, that is power and authority. So, basically politics is politics and the elements of politics we must look at it even in business. We shouldn’t just put our own son on the stage and back out. And then begin to say our son is weak or bad, yes if it is weak and bad we have a duty to make sure that he is strong, he said.
While summarising his paper delivered at the conference, Olowo stated that aviation can attract massive investments provided its policy thrust are driven by sound policy.
He said, “Well, the summary of the presentation basically is that there are very, very tangible assets in the aviation industry going from airlines to airport, to terminal building that could attract investment, provided the four policy thrust that I tried to identify are driven by policy.
“Policy needs to drive those four thrust, stakeholder satisfaction, the investors, the consumer and of course safety and security. Policy thrust that are directed towards achieving solid objectives. Objectives that we will set with strong dashboard imperatives whereby we will be able to measure. Not just run from here to there day-to-day but we need to run into the feature 5 or 10 years from now.
According to him, policy implemented must be measured and it is key to have regulatory, political stability to thrive.
Olowo added, “The summary is that the regulatory framework must be stable, the political environment must be stable, because a Mr. President today need not be there tomorrow for us to respect certain contracts that are signed with stakeholders, that must be stable. We must have stable regulatory framework, we must have stable legal framework. Regulation shouldn’t be changing the way we change our dress. A regulation that drives economics, we cannot continue to be prodigal the way balance of trade against Nigeria is handled. “