Emirates Airlines, which operates more than 14 weekly flights to and from Nigeria, has realised N24 billion from ticket sales in the country in 2014, stakeholders disclosed on Tuesday.
Akin Olateru, an aviation lawyer, who disclosed this at the launch of a travel portal by Sesby’s Travel and Tours in Lagos, lamented that Nigeria was yet to realise the economic potentials that lie in the Aviation sector, adding that a developed aviation sector could help add to job creation and revenue from taxes to the Nigerian government as money from crude oil sales fall.
According to him, the aviation sector is a technical one that must be harnessed with seasoned professionals and good infrastructure as it is done in other parts of the world.
He said over the years, Nigeria has been putting a round peg in a square hole as it concerns aviation adding that foreign airlines which have good infrastructure in their bases come to the country and make billions of naira.
He lamented that most airlines in Nigeria cannot fly more than 10 hours in a day because the infrastructure is limiting them.
“Emirates ticket sales were in excess of N24 billion in 2014. It is noteworthy to say that Aviation is a visible sector but the management so far is poor, we need to encourage good managers and train people to do the right job and the right time, sometimes, just because Emirates has solid airport infrastructure, people just go to Dubai for sightseeing and tourism.
For an airport to drive traffic there must be infrastructure and good management, most airlines’ and airports operations are limited in Nigeria,” he said.
Usman Muhktar, director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation had lamented that Nigeria has Bilateral Air Services Agreement, (BASA) with 78 countries, but that not all of the BASAs are being utilised.
The Emirates group in 2014 recorded the second highest profit ever of AED 5.5 billion (US$ 1.5 billion), while it made steady revenue and business growth with significant investment in the business at AED 20.2 billion (US$ 5.5 billion).
Also speaking at the event, Adeola Sesby-Banjoh, managing director of Sesby’s Travels and Tours, lamented that the sector is faced with numerous challenges.
For instance, she said travel agencies in Nigeria were faced with series of challenges ranging from infiltration of commercial institutions to lack of credit facilities.
She argued that it was impossible for the agencies to leave their primary assignment and start collecting money from people to save.
“We have lot of infiltrations such as banks which have now taken over our jobs, they should focus on their primary assignment” she added.