Nigeria: The Unplanned Economy (Part 17)

By Ikenga Chronicles January 13, 2018

Nigeria: The Unplanned Economy (Part 17)

— Baron Roy

Aviation: Killing It Softly (1)

Let us see the data below:

The USA has 394 airports, and a passenger traffic of about 150 million per annum.
The Peoples Republic of China has about 200 airports as at 2015. 240 more are in different stages of construction to be delivered by 2020. They have a passenger traffic of 487 million per annum.
Nigeria has 29 airports (and 13 airstrips). Total passenger traffic of 15.2 million in 2016.

Population by country
USA: 308 million
China: 1.2 billion
Nigeria: 180 million.

GDP by country
USA: $18.5 trillion
China: $11.2 trillion
Nigeria: $400 billion.

Contribution of Aviation to GDP
USA: 5.6%
China: 2.6%
Nigeria: 0.4%.

Let us stop there a while.

With the given data, a lot could be analysed. A cursory inspection shows that Nigeria is lagging behind everywhere. All over the world, the Aviation Sector is a prime mover of the economy. It spans across the services sector and the manufacturing sector. Every other sector is integrated with aviation. The efficiency of the sector is a reflection of the efficiency of the economy. Why is Nigeria so different? Why is the Aviation sector so poor that it has an insignificant impact on the economy whereas, it runs the show in other countries? Why?

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So the research team set to work and mined data. We mined for several countries but for the sake of this work and platform, we shall restrict ourselves to only a few.

In the USA, China and other OECD countries, aviation rules. Not so in Nigeria. We commenced checking the administration of selected airports using the criteria of passenger volume to filter. The results were interesting:

1. Most airports are NOT run by the government
2. The federal government of the USA does not own any airport
3. Most airports in the OECD countries are either owned by the Municipal government, the County (Local Government), or the State or Region
4. Most airports are run by an airline or private firm
5. All airports are in serious competition to attract business.

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We compared what we discovered to the airport administration in Nigeria: the federal government runs the show. All aspects of Aviation in Nigeria are under the direct control of the government. There is no competition among airports. Airport Administration in Nigeria is so calamitous that it is a sin against mankind!

In real terms, the Aviation industry in Nigeria contributes less than $1 billion to the GDP. Aviation contributes about $200 billion to the GDP of China.

In the USA, a county or municipality decides it needs an airport for a particular purpose, they invite the FAA to discuss the location and how to integrate it to the radar coverage area. They get it constructed, and hands over to an airline or administrator. The business of the municipality or county ends there! The airline promotes the airport and runs the show. Of course, the taxes are closely collated and paid to the municipality and state. The FAA posts some officials there with specific duties on the federal regulations. The FAA does NOT run the show in any airport!

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The airline running the airport improves on the business and goes international. The designation as an international airport is not the business of the Washington Government but the business expansion of the Airport Operations! Once they go international, by a simple memo, they inform the US Border Control Agency (equivalent of Immigration). The Border Control sends personnel there to oversee passports and immigration. That is their only job; they do NOT run the show. There are no FBI, CIA, NIA or Customs to be seen anywhere!

With the model above, what do you get? Fantastic Terminal buildings, seamless operations, high passenger volumes, orgasmic experience at the airport terminals. In fact, the airport terminal and services give one an idea what the city would be like. From JFK to La Guardia, St. Paul to Chicago International, Heathrow to Aberdeen International, Schipol to Dubai International, fantastic airport terminals with marvellous services. The airports are a tourist attraction! Even some airports in Africa like Tambo International in Johannesburg and Addis Bole in Addis Ababa have far better administrative and governance structure than Nigeria!

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The federal government and its ridiculous centralization runs the show in the Aviation Industry in Nigeria, and they run it aground. Those bus stations we designate as airports in Nigeria are not airports in anyway. Yea, the best we have is Nnamdi Azikiwe in Abuja, right? That best is nothing compared to airports all over the world. The Nigerian Aviation sector is a crime against humanity. The airlines struggle; passenger security within the airports is a mirage. Government uniformed touts and general touts control the show. Checked-in bags are regularly raided and items stolen. Cooling systems don’t work. Toilets stink, maintenance is zero. Unnecessary officials duplicating the same job and asking idiotic questions that make me want to give them backhand slaps. Carousels don’t work, operations are a mess. The experience in the Nigerian Airport is something out of this world! Yes, no where else is it done in the world save Afghanistan or Somalia!

The Aviation Sector in Nigeria is being killed by the Federal Government, and the economy is being killed alongside it.

(To be continued)