The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Overland Airways, Captain Edward Boyo, has warned that local airlines in the country are victims of obsolete legislation which has made the business environment in the aviation sector very hostile for operators.
Captain accused the Aviation regulatory agencies, especially the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) of imposing exorbitant service charges on the airlines.
He disclosed this place at the three -day public hearing on the six aviation Executive Bills organized by the Senate Committee on Aviation chaired by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West).
He noted that undue taxation by NCAA in connivance with the Ministry of Aviation was responsible for high airfares while the agency was indifferent to standard and efficiency.
He called on the National Assembly to protect the aviation industry through relevant legislation to prevent local airlines operators from going out of business.
“The Senate should ask, why are airlines dying in Nigeria? It is good that we are amending the laws with the hope that it will help the common man.
“The local operators are being demonised as not remitting charges. What we should ask is, what is the efficiency of these agencies taking the charges, translating to high cost for travelers?
Chairman Bi-Courtney Group of Companies, Wale Babalakin, (SAN) urged the Senate Committee on Aviation to liaise with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters before concluding the amendment.
Babalakin insisted that certain provisions of the Bills have directly infringed on the Constitution, accusing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of conflict of interest.
“FAAN can’t play a role in regulating terminals, the FAAN can’t bully the operators with regulations. The regulator can’t continue to be a competitor, it is a conflict of interest.
In his own contribution, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, asked the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) to look inwards, warning them to stop pointing fingers if they desire to overcome their challenges.
The Aviation Minister however attributed the decline in the fortunes of the indigenous airlines to poor capital outlay, business plans and governance structure.
“To explain why the airlines are failing are business plans and failure of their CEOs, you don’t blame their inefficiency on us. They should look at their business plans. For those that have gone into extinction, check the ownership structure and business plans.
“Ask them about the maintenance plans for their aircrafts. Most of them miss it from business plan and governance structure, I don’t want to mention their names.”