Poor customer service in local aviation and dilapidated equipment at airports drew the attention of aviation stakeholders yesterday.
The practitioners said at the Airport Business Summit and Expo Africa in Lagos that not only is Nigerian aviation losing competitiveness due to dwindling infrastructure, but operations are also becoming unsafe for passengers.
Similarly, Lagos airport has increased its viability, accounting for 58% of total aviation revenue in 2020. Before the pandemic disruption, the busiest airport accounted for roughly 40% of total earnings.
Indeed, customer satisfaction has dipped in local operations, with nearly two out of every three flights either delayed or cancelled.
Adamu Abdullahi, Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services at the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), expressed regret over both the poor infrastructure and services.
Abdullahi, on the other hand, believes that protecting consumers’ rights is critical to the aviation industry’s competitiveness. He stated that consumers have the right to choose, to be heard, to seek redress, to a safe environment, to value for money paid for services, and to receive accurate information.
Adamu lamented the deterioration of infrastructure, saying, “Our airports cannot compete favourably with world-established airports; and the dream of transforming Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, into a regional hub is far from being realized.”
Most of the nation’s terminal buildings require modern functional ones with state-of-the-art technology. Our apron spaces are congested and grossly inadequate, thus not being able to minimise timing in the area of facilitation.
Runways are undulating and deteriorating and have outlived their design life. On the whole, critical safety support services are all stretched to their limits.
Adamu also stated that the airport’s associated services, such as airport rescue and firefighting services, water and power supply, are all out of date.
Sadiku Rafindadi, Director, Commercial and Business Development at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), stated that the FAAN is committed to strategies to raise the status of the facilities and increase revenue from both aeronautical and non-aeronautical sources.
Rafindadi stated that the new international terminals in Lagos, among other places, would increase annual passenger traffic to 15 million across the country.
Rafindadi said: “Nigerian airports have enormous potential for high gross earnings if we will harness it. Each airport has its peculiarity in terms of tourism, agriculture, mining and aerotropolis to better improve their viability.”
He went on to say that FAAN was considering increasing the share of non-aeronautical activities from under 30% to 40%, “by focusing on investments in airport infrastructures and technology solutions to drive cost optimisation, creating enabling environments, and improving non-aeronautical revenue streams.”