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Experts proffer solutions to ending airline fraud, leakages

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AVIATION experts have said that the institution of a good corporate culture in the business would stop fraud and leakages in the industry.

The experts said this today at a webinar organised by the Nigeria Aviation Forum (NAF). The theme of the webinar was, ‘Fraud Trigger, Detection and Prevention: An Experience from the Nigerian Airline Industry.’

The president, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Nigeria and former Chief Executive Officer, Associated Airlines, Dr Alex Nwuba, who opened the session, disclosed that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated that payment fraud alone totalled $858 million annually, out of which 71 per cent was borne by airlines.

The convener of the event and founder, 7-Star Global Hangar, Isaac Balami, agreed with Nwuba, adding that in the last two decades, over $5.2 trillion had been missing due to fraud across the globe.

The experts explained that fraudulent practices cut across ticket prices, aviation fuel, and even excess food served in the cabin that was never returned to the company. They stressed that these leakages could only be stopped by accountable staff and honest top management executives.

A former Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) of Dana Air, Sukhjinder Paul Mann, said it was wrong for an airline business to be leaking money. Mann noted that while it was a shareholder issue, continued leakages could affect the economic health of the airline and lead it to be grounded subsequently.

He said, “If your company is leaking money, then it is an issue. The ownership structure needs to bring in the right management and enforce correct procedures, as well as the implementation of it, maximising revenue and minimising leakages. The right mindset has to come from the top. If the culture is not correct, you would lose everything.”

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Corroborating on the culture issue, Nwuba said many airlines were “unteachable” and had found it hard to last beyond 10 years.

He said, “What is the problem with the aviation structure in the Nigerian economy? Why do we have this 10-year period of operations? Some of the issues facing us are corporate governance. If we look at our domestic airline industry, what we see are one-man shows.”

Author profile

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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