‘How to make Nigeria’s airports regional hub’

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To make Nigeria a regional hub, the government must put in place a policy to drive it, the Executive Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison, has said.

Part of the policy, Meggison said, should include reduction of airport taxes and navigational charges, as well the reduction of the price of aviation fuel. He said building of new airport transit lounges and removal of the five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT), will als be required to attract more airlines into the country’s airports.

In an interview, Meggison regretted that Nigeria is not among the three regional hubs on the continent.

He said until the government puts in place a sound economic policy to attract airlines into Nigeria with lower airport taxes, improved airport navigational facilities countries, including South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana will continue to position airports in their capital as regional hubs.

Meggison said it was high time Nigeria adopted the International Airport Transport Association (IATA) model of operational cost reduction to become a hub.

Ghana, he said, has since used the IATA model to develop its Kotoka International Airport in Accra, to become a hub for West Africa.

He said: “There is an urgent need for a deliberate economic policy that will eliminate the many challenges that adversely affect the sector in a bid to guarantee survival of domestic airlines in the country and to make Nigeria the hub for Africa.

“Nigeria has huge potential given her geographic location at the centre of Africa. Most of her airports are at approximately at sea level. Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of crude oil with an estimated population of 190 million, and skilled manpower, yet she is not a hub for aviation on the African continent.”

He said the government should take steps to address the challenges  affecting domestic airlines to make them operate in a cost-conducive environment to enhance their sustainability and safety.

Meggison said: “Some of the major issues that need to be addressed to grow the sector include, but are not limited to removal of VAT as domestic airlines are the only mode of transport paying Value Added Tax (VAT).

“Review the five per cent Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) to a flat rate, in line with global standards; harmonise over 35 multiple charges, which add huge burdens on airlines; poor navigational and landing aids that limit operations to daylight operation for most airports; high cost and epileptic supply of aviation fuel.

‘’Obsolete infrastructure that hampers the ease of doing business and lack of consultations with airlines before introduction of new charges and policies among others.”

The post ‘How to make Nigeria’s airports regional hub’ appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

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