Stakeholder Advocates Activation of slot rule for airlines by FAAN 

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has been advised to activate the slot rule for scheduled carriers in a bid to reduce delays and cancellations of flights by the operators in the country.

The immediate past President, of Aviation Safety Round Table Initiatives (ASRTI), Dr. Gabriel Olowo in an interview with Nairametrics in Lagos on Monday, decried the high percentage of delays and cancellations among the country’s carriers. 

According to him, the On-Time Performance (OTP) of Nigeria Airlines is woeful and deplorable with an average of 61% delays, which he said was far below the acceptable world average.

In a bid to curb the delays, Olowo canvassed for activation of the slot rule, maintaining that this would go a long way to promoting OTP among the carriers.

A slot is an authorization given to airlines by airport authorities to either take off or land at a particular airport on a particular day during a specified period.

Any airline that misses its schedule is rescheduled for either another time or day, depending on the availability of space and time.

Olowo insisted that the country’s airlines needed to change their strategies to remain competitive in the sub-sector.

He said:

  • “Why is FAAN not using the slot rule? FAAN should adopt this to mitigate delays and cancellations in the system. Nigerian Airlines should stop acting like a mole operator. Our airlines should have at least 90 percent on-time scheduled. 
  • “Airlines should respect timing. We should separate politics from economics. If we must change strategies, we must balance them. The airlines must change their strategies to be competitive. Also, our airports are not differentiated. There should be different codes for the terminals.” 

Besides, Olowo blamed the Federal Government for the short lifespan of the country’s airlines. 

According to him, the government had 60%  blame for the failure of the indigenous airlines, while the remaining 40% goes to the operators. 

He declared that the airlines lacked government support in the area of policies, levies, charges, and other aspects of their operations. 

Olowo maintained that the government had also failed to come to the aid of the airlines while giving them “red routes” to fly into. 

He decried that as a result of the categorization of Nigeria and Africa as a country risk by leasing and insurance companies, charges and premiums, respectively imposed on the operators by the foreign companies are higher than elsewhere. 

He also pointed out that the airline operators had failed so far to learn from the mistakes of the past carriers, saying that most of them continued in the same failed approach of the liquidated airlines. 

He said:

  • “The Ministry of Aviation doesn’t seem to have confidence in the indigenous airlines. So, 60% of the challenges facing the government are with the government. Some of the airlines go to the red routes, which don’t make them stay long in the air and they never recover from this. 
  • “The Nigerian airlines should also learn from the mistakes of the past. Go and take a case study of Bellview, ADC, Okada, and many others. Look at how and why they failed. If the government was responsible for the problem, we must think, how do we handle the government? 
  • “The government has always been the problem. They tell you; you can’t fly the flag. Air Peace has been flying the flag to Ghana, Liberia, and China now. And I am sure if you look at that route, for it not to be in red is questionable. 
  • “The Air Peace Chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema has been saying it and nobody is attending to him, until he rides into crisis, then the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) will come, like they did to Arik and Aero. That is not the way forward. You see in Nigeria; Nigeria does not love Nigeria except when we are playing soccer. The soccer that we don’t prepare for.”