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Ikechi Uko
Ikechi Uko

Experts To Discuss Airline Failure In Africa At 12th Akwaaba

Chibuzor Ebere

Stakeholders in the Nigeria’s tourism industry will converge to brainstorm, and find solutions, to challenges that domestic airlines are passing through at the 12th Akwaaba Aviation Day Conference billed to take place on the October 31, 2016 at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.

Organiser of the conference and publisher of ATQ, Ikechi Uko, told The UNION that the retinue of flight suspensions, and or cancellations, by domestic airlines call for serious industry engagement.

According to him, experts have been lined up to discuss lingering issue in the Nigerian aviation sector at the Akwaaba Aviation Day Conference.

Topic for engagement is “Aviation In Africa And Why Airlines Fail”, he said.

“With the topic “Aviation in Africa and Why Airlines Fail” on the second Aviation Day at Akwaaba, we will draw on the experience of major players in Nigeria’s aviation and also from the most influential players in the aviation sector between 1999 and 2010, who will be sharing their experiences”, a statement from the organisers said.

Akwaaba organisers also hinted that former Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, former Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), Richard Aisebeogun, former MD of Virgin Nigeria, Dapo Olumide, and former MD of Nigeria Airways Limited, Edmund Yomi Jones, will be on hand to offer insights.

Others on the list of experts to help analyse the issues include: Capt Mike Omokore, a search and rescue expert; Kenya’s female aviator, Dorcas Aketch formerly of Kenya Airways, Virgin Nigeria and lately RwandAir.

Attributing the decay in Aviation sector to bad economic decisions by the government and the unfavourable foreign exchange market, the organisers however, affirmed that at the end of Akwaaba Conference, a workable road map for airlines in Africa would have been drawn.

Such factors, it said have made the airlines to be operating at a very high cost, making operators to groan under high cost of doing their businesses.

Akwaaba African Travel Market is a 3-day Travel expo, now in its 12th year. It will hold from October 30th to November 1, 2016 at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos. So far, 30 speakers have been lined up to discuss aviation and tourism in Africa.

In addition, exhibitors from Kenya, Bahrain, Dubai, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Benin Republic have indicated interest and fully booked for the 3-day expo.

Akwaaba recalls that the suspension of flight by the biggest Airline in West Africa, Arik on midnight of 13th September due to the expiration of insurance was a big blow to the industry. “The bottom has finally fallen out of the aviation business in Nigeria. The mighty Arik with about 26 Airplanes is the livewire of movement in Nigeria and West Africa. Arik has since sorted itself out and resumed flights but the problem still persists”, it noted.

“Nigeria has had a cyclical boom and bust aviation history. A sudden bust and blossoming of Airlines and the gradual demise of most and the eventual boom again. There have been legendary airlines that ruled the airspace and eventually disappeared. Outside Nigeria Airways, the defunct national carrier, Okada Air, was the most popular. As a pioneer private airline it gave its name to the motorbike taxis in Nigeria famously called “Okada”. At a point it had 53 Aircraft on its register mostly BAC-111”, the organisers of the conference recalled.

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