The Association of Foreign Airlines Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN), yesterday, called for improvement in aviation infrastructure in the country and a review of charges.
This, the association noted, would boost cargo and passenger movements as well as improve aviation contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The president of AFARN, Kingsley Nwokoma, disclosed that cargo and passenger movements have reduced in recent times to 50 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
He told Daily Trust exclusively on the sidelines of the summit and awards ceremony organized by the association in Lagos with the theme, ‘Promoting the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Through Safety Consciousness in the Aviation Industry’.
Nwokoma spoke just as the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engr. Saleh Dunoma, disclosed that the Federal Government was taking steps to further improve service delivery to enhance the operations of airlines.
The AFARN president noted that Ghana had hijacked most cargo exports that should be handled in Nigeria, adding that most foreign airlines had to cut down their passenger and cargo flights owing to economic downturn.
He said: “There has been a decline both in the passenger figure and cargo figures. Everybody is trying to maximize profit. For the cargo, people are now doing ship freighting and of course you need to have money in your pocket for you to go on a vacation.
“Cargo has reduced by 50 per cent because before some airlines were doing seven flights into the country but now they are just doing one or two. For passengers I can say 30 per cent, that is where we are.
“We need to improve the infrastructure, we need to make sure that the multiple charges are no more there; we need to make sure that infrastructures are up and standing,” he stated.
Sirika, represented by the Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Engr. Akin Olateru, said government would continue to review and upgrade infrastructures. “Therefore, our target is to make our air transport service the safest and most secure,” he said.
FAAN MD, represented by the Director of Airport Operations, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, disclosed that more airports would be certified this year in addition to the Lagos and Abuja airports that were certified last year.
“We have and continue to engage in numerous safety audits and assessments of our airports to ensure that they meet international standards,” he said.