The Chairperson, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Biodun Olujimi, has expressed deep worries over the potential negative impact of the recent increase in airfares on the aviation industry.
Olujimi also cautioned that down tooling among aviation unions would be disallowed.
She made these observations at the second edition of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria National Aviation Conference tagged “Sustainability of the Aviation Industry in Nigeria”, which was held in Abuja, on Monday.
According to her, the aviation industry will suffer greatly if the heavy increase in airfares is allowed to continue.
She said, “I think this is an opportunity for them to address it because the industry will suffer if there is this very heavy increase in airfares.”
Olujimi explained further that while there may be valid reasons for the increase in airfares, it is important to strike a balance so that more people can afford to travel by air and support the growth of the industry.
“Yes, there are reasons why the airfares go up but there is also a need for us to have a balance for many people to embrace the aviation industry and that is key to the development of the industry,” she noted.
Meanwhile, the Senator has emphasised that picketing is not allowed in the aviation industry.
She therefore called on the Nigeria Labour Congress and workers association to seek other means of settling their grievances in such a way that it does not involve picketing at the airport.
She stressed, “What I find very unnerving is that there should be a way for the NLC and workers association to settle all their grievances without bringing them to the airport and most of the issues that were put on the front burner were already settled and sealed by the various agencies.
“I think the time is ripe for the NLC and the worker’s unions to know that there are certain industries where picketing can not be allowed, and aviation is one of them,” she added.
Olujimi who used the opportunity to appreciate heads of the various agencies for their performance amid challenges being faced by the sector noted that despite initial successes achieved in the roadmap set out for the industry, there is still much work to be done in improving the enforcement of laws and resolving outstanding issues.
On his part, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Capt Rabiu Yadudu informed that, “the primary aim of the conference is to provide a unified platform for all industry stakeholders to come together, with a view to discussing challenges militating against the growth and development of the nation’s aviation industry, as well as proffer viable solutions to such challenges.”
Yadudu said the conference would serve as a forum to highlight available investment opportunities in the industry, to attract prospective investors, who are desirous of making great returns on their investments.