The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said Nigerian airlines are uncompetitive with other airlines because of the harsh economic environment within Nigeria.
The President of IATA for Africa and the Middle East, Kamil Al-Awadhi said Nigeria’s interest rates to airline credit lines are too high comparable to the global average. He also said the airline charges in Nigeria are among the highest in the world.
Kamil Al-Awadhi who spoke in Abuja at the ongoing Aviation Africa 2023 Summit & exhibition said Nigerian airlines are paying 22-25 percent interest on loans compared to about 6 percent in other parts of the world.
He also said airline charges at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and the Murtala Muhammad International Airport Lagos are the highest in the whole world.
“Abuja has the highest charges followed by Lagos. How can you have such high taxes and expect to be profitable? Nigerian airlines can’t compete with others. African airlines have put themselves in a terrible situation to compete. They are not financially viable with excess charges” he said.
Taken together, Nigerian local airlines cannot compete with their contemporaries elsewhere in the world he said.
On the African aviation industry, he said it is sad that Africa with about 1.5bn people has about just 1 million people flying on the continent.
He also said the African aviation industry is estimated to post about $500m dollars in 2023 but gradual recovery should begin in 2024.
“Fuel is higher by 20 percent. The loans are horrendous. The continent needs to review these issues. If you want to see Gross Domestic Product (GDP) change, just fix your aviation industry. Doha, Dubai, and the entire United Arab Emirates (UAE) grew from nothing. Airlines contribute to the growth of the economy”.