The Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors Limited, Capt. Ado Sanusi, recently told journalists that the major hindrance to the growth of domestic airlines and the entire aviation industry is lack of funding.
According to him, financial institutions in Nigeria are reluctant to support and invest in the aviation industry. This has, in turn, made it impossible to finance many projects; specifically the acquisition of new aircraft.
Why can’t airlines access funding? Sanusi went further to explain that the main reason airlines find it difficult to access funds is baecause the industry has not fared very well in the past. Also, the fact that airlines have gone under receivership may also be responsible for the disinterest expressed by financial institutions.
He, therefore, called for more measures to be taken towards addressing the problem.
“I think we need to re-engineer the financing of aviation sector, the aviation industry in general. I don’t think the financial institutions have supported the industry the way they are supposed to. The industry is high risk and low profit and we need long-term loans with low interest rate for us to break even.”
Industry Growth: Without a doubt, the Nigerian aviation industry has witnessed some improvements in recent times. That notwithstanding, a lot still needs to be done in order to help it compete globally. According to the CEO;
“In the area of infrastructure, things have been done but I don’t think we are where we should be. I think there has been movement towards that direction. In the area of regulation, a lot has been achieved but a lot needs to be done.
“We are moving towards the right direction; the industry is now being looked at as one the growth catalysts of the economy and for that, I think the government should be commended. If we continue with this trajectory, the industry will be better.”
Aero Contractors Limited recently re-opened its old routes and added new ones including Kano, Lagos-Yola, Yola-Abuja, and Yola-Lagos. The introduction of new routes implies that the company now has to acquire more aircraft to operate those routes. However, it cannot do that if it cannot access funding.