As time runs its course for one administration, Nigeria’s aviation industry looks to the future with open arms on its sustainable options. What comes next for one of the country’s economic instigators? How can it rise to the occasion of pending obligations?
Last year, varying events coloured the progress of the industry significantly; events that incited controversial effects within the country. From: a hike in jet fuel price which in turn led to inflation of air ticket prices, to bouts of insecurity, dollar scarcity and trapped funds, partnerships and investments were established and also the introduction of the civil aviation act 2022.
Now in 2023, what are the chances of the sector providing solutions to the unanswered questions from the previous year in the upcoming event?
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) announced the 2023 FAAN National Aviation Conference (FNAC) will serve as a platform to exchange information and ideas for sustainable developments in the aviation industry.
It is also initiated to access investments and veritable solutions that have been adopted by key players relative to the future and growth of the industry, according to a statement by FAAN.
The Investment Forum is an avenue for FAAN to market its assets towards achieving commercially viable Airports (especially the Secondary Airports) as well as create access to sustainable alternatives for revenue generation at Nigerian Airports through funding and innovative ideas.
Last year, FNAC held its first ever conference for the same purpose of tackling issues pertaining to the sector’s growth; to address the challenges faced. The event opened the floor for domestic players in the industry and service providers to air out the challenges faced and explore facets of solution.
Although some of the issues discussed are still subsisting, this event presents another opportunity for aviation to move upon promising grounds.
Like the maiden conference, FNAC looks to bring together international business leaders and experts, representatives of the organized private sector concessionaires, airline operators, Nigeria’s captains of industries and entrepreneurs, bank representatives, development partners and international organization, parliamentarians, traditional rulers and community leaders, diplomatic missions and embassies in Nigeria.
Themed ‘Sustainability of the Aviation industry in Nigeria’, the conference is scheduled to hold from May 15 to 18 2023 at the International Conference Center in Abuja.
The objectives of the conference include creating a forum for the exchange of relevant industry information with all critical stakeholders for uniformity; deliberating how technology-driven innovations will change air travel in decades to come; and discussing the future of the airport vis-à-vis innovations, safety and security, financing and leasing, sustainability, growth drivers, logistics among others, according to the statement.
The event would present a platform for stakeholders to explore solutions already adopted by key players relative to the future and growth of the industry.
In addition, it will feature an investment forum to discuss opportunities in Nigerian Airports, and an exhibition arena to showcase commercial offerings at the airports to attract foreign and local investments. “This is borne out of our belief that if the opportunities in the States are adequately harnessed (especially in Agriculture, Tourism, Solid Minerals etc), it will drive a chain effect signaling the commercial viability of airports,” the statement read in part.
The conference is setting its sights upon the horizon of Nigeria’s aviation sector. A gathering determined to spearhead its next level.
In terms of technology, some countries have seen themselves adapting after the visitation of Covid-19. This has consequently led to making operations as contactless and digital as possible, as a strategy to enable substantial growth in economy and comfort and safety of transit.
Many airports have evolved the check-in process to minimize human-to-human interaction and ensure safety; automated kiosks have taken the place of traditional check-in desks, and digital signage helps guide customers through the boarding process.
Also, security clearance and advanced object and body scanning technology, paperless boarding passes, and automated boarding process are the new norm. These are all linked via Internet of things (IOT) protocols and analyzed and deciphered by AI and machine learning algorithms.
Reality informs that in order to accommodate the forecast growth, bold improvements and efficiencies for airports and air traffic management will need to be harnessed. For this purpose, innovation is keen.
Technical improvements have seen engines and aircraft become lighter, quieter and more efficient. New technologies are reshaping with robotics, artificial intelligence, the IOT, unmanned aircraft systems and the push for hybrid and electric airplanes.
Also, drawing from the recent actions of the United States, a new policy was adopted for the sake of protecting the aviation sector.
Just last week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), issued a new cyber security amendment for airport and aircraft operators.
This was done to protect the nation’s transportation system; to reduce cyber security risks and improve cyber resilience to support safe, secure and efficient travel.
So, as this year’s conference moves to advance the industry’s future, it would be to our benefit to look beyond the present looking glass unto tested standards that have proven effective.