The Aviation Round Table (ART), has decried the absence of credible data in Nigeria’s aviation sector, noting that the trend, if not corrected, will continue to serve as a great disincentive to efforts to attract genuine investors into the sector.
Last week, a member of the ART and an aviation expert, Capt. John Ojikutu (retd.) had faulted passenger and ticket sales figures (N505.2 billion) released by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for which it stated that the 25 foreign airlines operating into Nigeria’s four international airports made the most ticket sales of N411.6 billion out of the N505.2 billion leaving Nigeria’s eight domestic airlines with a meagre N93.6 billion worth of ticket sales during the year under review.
Ojikutu had alleged that the Federal Government might have lost over N100 billion in Ticket Sales Charges (TSC) and Cargo Sales Charges (CSC) in the aviation sector as the NCAA figure was inconsistent with the reality on ground.
“If all international passengers were to pay N350,000 per flight without considering those on First Class and Business Class, this would amount to N650 billion and not N411.6 billion (out of the N505.2 billion) as provided by NCAA for international passengers in 2017,” he said. “Similarly, if we consider that each of the five million outbound domestic passengers paid N18,000 again without factoring the First and Business Class passengers’ fares, the earnings cannot be anything less but more than N90 billion,” he submitted.
However, ART in a statement by its President, Mr. Gabriel Olowo, in response to the discrepancies in figures from NCAA is urging the Federal Ministry of Transportation to wade into the matter and resolve it.
“The Ministry of Transportation under whose purview the agencies operate a consolidated passenger statistics and ticket sales figure should re-evaluate the figures presented to the public due to the large differential when compared to figures given by independent bodies such as airlines and travel agents,” Olowo said.
“Increased inter-agency relationship on data gathering is advised to avoid future conflicting figures in passenger, ticket sales and other necessary statistics. These figures are used for planning, to attract investors and often times, used for the assessment of industry performance, so we must get it right,” he added.
He also demanded that as the Federal Government works towards the establishment of a new national airline, a level playing field should be provided for all players in Nigeria’s aviation industry to thrive.