By Rebecca Adesina
An aviation professional body and organizers of the Airport Business Summit in Nigeria is working round the clock to see possible ways on how airport business can help deliver the total air transport growth and also give the airlines support to break even.
Speaking on the need for growth in air transport business, coordinator of the annual Airport Business Summit, Mr. Fortune Idu said that it was same reason that led to the initiation of the Arport Business Summit, adding that the fourth edition of the event will be coming up later this year.
Mr. Idu who also the organizers of Nigerian Aviation Awards (NIGAV) said that the theme of this year’s edition is “Repositioning The Airport Business To Sustain Air Transport Growth”, pointed out that the forum hinges around their understanding that one cannot really have the growth in the air transport if the airport is not operating properly.
“The aviation industry actually relies on the stability and sustainability of the airport itself to grow because the profit margin for the airlines are always very small. For the aviation industry to thrive, we need an airport that has the capacity to carry and give services that are measurable to what the airlines are paying to enable them to be sustainable in their operations. So repositioning the airport business to sustaining air transport growth will be focused on seeing how airport business can help deliver the total air transport growth giving the airlines support to also break even”, Mr Idu said.
The organizer said the summit is a gathering of professionals and investors in the airport industry, comprising those from the airport side and the aircraft side, which is the airline side and of course the handling companies.
According to the aviation expert, four years ago, he discovered that there were gaps in the development of airports in Nigeria and that there was a lot of airport infrastructure deficit. He therefore, started the summit which is expected to enable the airport industry itself to be exposed and to open up the industry to investors so that more players can come in.
“We started the Airport Business Summit and since then, it has grown. From a gathering of very few number of people, it has brown to an annual event of over 250 delegates each time we hold the event. We are not stopping there; we are looking at increasing our capacity to attract players in the industry and open the summit for exhibitions, so we can have a vibrant travel expo alongside the Airport Business Summit”, Idu informed.
On the benefits to the industry, Mr Idu stated that the summit is geared towards the industry itself, promotion of airport development and doing it rightly, just as he noted that with the summit, Nigeria can be able to achieve 21 century airport in the country.
“From the on goings, you can see that our airports lack investments; it is not growing. With this Airport Business Summit, we try to emphasize on the business side of airport development, and helping people who are interested to come into the industry to find their place”, he said.
While warning that it is not for aviators alone, Idu said that participants expected at the summit include: stakeholders from aviation operators and non-aviation operators.
“The airport industry is a multi-sectorial industry. It goes beyond the aviation alone. You know you have all types of activities going on around the airport. The summit is not limited to only aviators alone. It is open to both the core aviators and the non-aeronautic service providers. You have retail shops and all kinds of businesses going on around the airport. So airport is actually a real estate, so you also have a real estate part of this industry. The summit is not only open to aviators alone; it is open to aviation operators and non-aviation operators. Everyone is involved in the summit and nobody is left out”, he said.
Other delegates expected at the summit are: The honourable Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Engr Saleh Dunoma, Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Mukhtar Usman, ground handling companies and others.
Issues to be discussed at the summit include: Runway Rehabilitation Process, Airport Security and Passengers’ Facilitations while the minister will be coming on the second day to declare the event open.
“On the first day of the event, we have a workshop; we have three workshops and one is on dealing with the runway rehabilitation process that was completed few months back. We want to discuss and learn some lessons from the process. We also have on the issue of airport security which we are going to discuss and then we have the issue of passengers’ facilitations which we are going to discuss. Those are the three tracks of the workshop that day. Then the second day, which is the plenary, we have the Minister Of State For Aviation coming to declare the event open and we also have a showcasing of some of the activities going on in the industry. We have an exhibition stand area where FAAN, NCAA and the rest of them showcasing and talking to the public. We have a lot of speakers coming, both those in the industry and those who have retired”, Idu said.