The Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ibom Air, Mr. George Uriesi, said domestic airlines lose at least N4.3 billion annually due to their inability to operate 24 hours flights daily to the airports of their choice.
Uriesi made this known while speaking at the 26th Annual Conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) on Thursday in Lagos
The theme of the conference is “Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications”.
Uriesi said that such restriction had led to a huge underutilisation of aircraft fleets by Nigerian airlines.
In his paper, ‘Maximising Runway Utilisation: A Nigerian Airline Perspective,’ Uriesi said the country’s carriers were losing an average of N4 million per flight, N360 million in 90 flights and about N4.3 billion annually to sunset airport operations.
He said this was partly because too many impediments were present in the operating environment that limit airline productivity.
“These include limited runway availability across the domestic network, multiple operational infrastructure deficiencies, poor organisation and many others.”
In a bid to solve the challenge, Uriesi appealed to the government to prioritise airfield infrastructure and provide the necessary Instrument Landing System (ILS).
The airline boss called for accompanying accessories for every airport, and keeping of the aerodromes open to meet the needs of airlines and other users.
He advised that the government should make current, approved master plans a regulatory requirement for every airport and illegalise non-adherence to the master plans by any organisation.
“Establishing a local aircraft lessor /financing vehicle that would allow for the domiciling of aircraft payments in local currency would make a huge difference to the air transport sector in Nigeria,” he added.
The Chairman of the league, Mr. Olusegun Koiki, in his opening address, urged the federal government to urgently come up with financial support for the ailing domestic operators in the country.