Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), last week, said their members lose over $180 million to bird strike incidents at airports in Nigeria every year.
The members also said over 70 percent of crashes that occurred in Nigeria were as a result of negligence of government parastatals and oversight deficiencies of regulatory agencies.
Speaking at the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) Safer Skies forum in Lagos, Noggie Meggison, chairman, AON, who spoke on ‘Aviation safety: operators perspective,’ revealed that the operators lose 30 engines to bird strike in a year, adding that aircraft engines now cost between $40 million to $70 million, depending on the aircraft.
While speaking on what contributes to unsafe skies, he said that in Nigeria, apart from mechanical errors of
airplanes, inefficiencies and negligence of aviation agencies contribute greatly to the crashes, saying even after the reports of those crashes were published, government don’t learn from them.
. “’We need to start looking at landing aids and landing areas at airports because over 70 percent of air crashes in Nigeria are linked to negligence on the part of aviation parastatals and oversight de- ficiencies of regulatory agencies. For instance, the ADC crash was due to air traffic control issue; Wings aviation crash due to wrong charting by NAMA while Associated plane was on ground for 24 months before it was taken to the skies.
“We need to look at the issues and not sweep issues under the carpet in Nigeria; we have issues ranging from bad drainage runway surface to failure of air traffic controller to properly monitor runways, among others,” he said.
Also speaking, Adamu Abdulahi, director of consumer protection directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), who represented the director general, identified aging workforce, paucity of funds and others as challenges also facing the sector.
He said however that, Nigeria was investing heavily on training, saying that government was also revamping the Nigerian College of Aviation in Zaria for personnel training in critical areas.
Also speaking, Yemi Dada, IRS Airlines managing director, said airlines were not making profit in Nigeria due to problems ranging from inadequate infrastructure, insurgency apart from the fact that everything about the operations was dollar based.
“The risk in insuring is high, credit is not well structured in Nigeria, aircraft lessor will ask you to pay three months rentals, the risk of losing the aircraft is at the heart of it all. Until the fundamentals of Nigerian economy is solved, we can’t break even easily,” he said.