The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has urged Nigerian airlines to expand operations to international routes.
NCAA Director-General Musa Nuhu said the failure of domestic carriers to expand globally would affect the amount of foreign exchange the nation would gain from the aviation sector.
Nuhu spoke on Friday while receiving the Senate and House of Representatives committees on Aviation.
He said, “We will encourage the Nigerian operators to increase international operations. This has a significant effect on the economy because the more foreign airlines carry our passengers, the more foreign exchange goes to their countries.
“Recently, the Central Bank governor Godwin Emefiele said hundreds of millions of dollars were being repatriated annually to these foreign airlines. Nigerian operators can gain from this by retaining foreign exchange in Nigeria. If they earn foreign exchange, it reduces the pressure on Central Bank to give them foreign exchange to meet expenses like getting spare parts or servicing.”
While stating the challenges bedevilling the regulator in the industry, the DG said the NCAA was finding it difficult to retain appropriate talents and train them effectively.
He said, “We want our technical staff to compete with the airlines, with their peers in our industry. We are restrained by public service rules. There is a limitation to what we can pay. It is difficult to attract and retain staff. It is difficult to attract technical staff that would work for us for 10-15 years.”
He also lamented that some of their staff were poached immediately after being trained.
Responding, the Senator representing Imo North Senatorial district Frank Ibezim urged the NCAA to report airline lateness as several hours were spent at airports in recent times due to flight delays, cancellations and changes.
The joint committees, who are currently on oversight duties in Lagos, vowed to invite airline operators and question them over their poor service delivery.
Similarly, the CBN also announced the introduction of its RT200 FX programme to boost the country’s foreign exchange inflow through non-oil exports.
The RT200 FX policy stands for the ‘Race To $200 billion in FX Repatriation into Nigeria.
Only Air Peace has spread its Nigerian wings globally, as it had formerly operated flights to Dubai and South Africa in the past.
In a recent announcement, the airline is set to expand its West Coast presence by launching flight operations into Niamey, Niger, on February 25, 2022, as well as Kinshasha and Malabo in Quarter 1, 2022.
Azman airline also set its sights on Dubai, Jeddah (JED) in Saudi Arabia and China in 2021. It is yet to be confirmed if the flights operated last year.