Nigerians may never know the real fate of the N300 billion naira intervention funds the federal government provided for operators of airlines on the domestic scene under the Aviation Intervention Fund as the regulatory authority yesterday said the funds was usurped by banks to repay their debts.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) disclosed that rather than use the funds to reposition the ailing airlines in the industry, the banks rather used it to repay debts owed them by them by the airlines.
Acting Director General of NCAA, Benedict Adeyileka said yesterday the funds were not properly apportioned for the intended purpose, hence its poor performance.
Adeyileka spoke on the topic, ‘sustaining safety in the Nigerian aviation sector, the attendant challenges’ at a one day seminar organized by Aeroconsult Limited with the theme “Sustaining Safety in the Nigeria aviation sector”.
He said the “banks used the intervention fund to pay debts owed them by airlines. They used the money to repay debts and now the airlines are paying the interest at a lower rate. It was a good intention by government but the results were not what it was intended for.”
He said the country’s aviation industry is face with various challenging ranging from inadequate infrastructural facilities and training of personnel while the airlines are battling with how to re-fleet, cost of aircraft leasing and finance, high cost of insurance, ageing workforce and fuel.
On how to overcome the challenges, he advice the airlines to leverage on Nigeria’s signing of the Cape Town Convention to commence a fleet renewal programme with newer aircraft and also work together as partners rather than see themselves as competitors and embrace codesharing and interlining.
Chief Executive Officer of Aeroconsult limited, Olatunde Obadofin said “with air traffic projections in the years ahead, current and emerging safety risks must be addressed proactively to ensure that any capacity expansion is carefully managed and supported through strategic regulatory and infrastructural developments.