Lagos — Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have met with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and have inundated the Federal Government with a load of requests which they say will ensure the sustenance of airlines.
Among the barrage of requests are the elimination of multiple charges, abolition of Value Added Tax (VAT) for airlines as aviation is the only mode of transport still paying VAT.
AON Chairman, Sir Nogie Meggison, listed other challenges to include poor navigational and landing aids, high cost and epileptic supply of Jet A1, obsolete infrastructure thereby limiting operations to daylight operations for most airports, and lack of consultation with airlines before introduction of new charges and policies, among others.
The operators also called for harmonisation of over 35 multiple charges; reviewing five per cent TSC to a flat rate (in line with world practices), saying multiple charges had killed over 25 airlines in 30 years.
Megisson said: "There is an urgent need for a deliberate economic policy that will support the positive growth of aviation and survival of domestic airlines in the country. For instance, following the air crashes of 2005/06, government came up with a policy to ensure air safety. Similarly, the economic policy for the sustenance of the industry needs to be seriously looked into.
"Safety and economic policy go hand-in-hand. Where there is no financial profit for airlines safety would be compromised. A clear economic policy for the survival of domestic airlines is very critical at this time which has resulted over the years in the deaths of over 25 airlines in 30 years.
Safety and Financial Economic Policy must go hand-in-hand; as airline investors are in the business of aviation for the profit and cannot make profit without safety or have a safe airline without profit."
Osinbajo reportedly promised to address the many challenges facing the aviation industry in Nigeria which had hitherto hampered the growth and development of the sector and hindered it from taking advantage of its natural geographical position as the hub for Africa.