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Mr. Richard Aisuebeogun, Former Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FANN), has called for the commercialisation of airports in Africa to support the Aviation industry.
He said until countries see this as a commercial entity, the growth of the industry would remain stunting.
Mr. Aisuebeogun was speaking at the 12th Edition of Akwaaba African Market Tourism Conference, on the topic: ‘State of Aviation in Africa and Why Airlines Fail,’ in Lagos, Nigeria.
The three-day event was aimed at transferring knowledge covering travel, hospitality and aviation sectors from globally rated experts.
He said African Airports had evolved overtime from the use of old archaic state of infrastructure to a much more modern state of the art buildings and structures.
He said the performance of the African aviation industry was lagging behind those of the rest of the world, at less than three per cent of global revenue passenger kilometres.
He said the growth was heavily constrained by the high industry costs, inadequate infrastructure at a number of airports, slow implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, lack of a single traffic rights negotiating body with respect to third parties like the EU.
He said, nonetheless, demand for air transport has increased steadily over the past years with passenger numbers and freight traffic growing significantly. Over the period from 2010 to 2015, Africa has become one of the fastest growing regions in the world, in terms of international traffic, with an average growth rate of 6.1 per cent, compared to the global average of 5.8 per cent.
However, African aviation needs to grow at double digit rates to be a significant player in the global industry.
He noted that many Airlines had failed or were barely surviving in Africa due to many factors such as Management Business Plan, Safety Regulation, Economic Regulation, Low cost Airlines, Multi-Hub Strategy, Service Excellence, which he grouped as internal.
Others are external, namely: Cost of operating environment, Economic Diversification, Political Environment, improved airport infrastructure, Airports supports, Improved Air navigation infrastructure and unfair competition.
‘The economic benefits of airlines are enormous and increasing, because airlines are not just part of the economy but a key economic catalyst recognised as vital to the growth and achievement of National, Regional and Global economic goals,’ he said.