• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Aviation sector at risk as terror attacks heighten

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Experts in the aviation sector have said that with the current attacks in airports across various countries in the world, the envisaged growth of the sector may be at risk in the coming years.

Wole Shadare, an expert in the aviation sector, says airports and aircraft continue to offer series of highly attractive targets to terrorists and insurgents as a result of high value of the aircraft themselves, the concentration of people (often representing different nationalities) and the automatic media coverage (breaking news/headlines) generated by aviation related terrorism.

Shadare says airports are veritable instruments of national identity, which makes it targets for terrorist attacks.

These reasons, he says, may begin to discourage some people from travelling and in some cases limit their visits to certain countries where terror attacks are prevalent.

Nigeria’s passenger traffic for inbound and outbound destinations soared to 21 million in 2014, surpassing the record of 2013, by over 20 percent.

Prior to the development in Nigeria, the steady growth of passenger movement in air transport was interrupted by the tragic Dana Air flight crash in June 2012, which led to significant reduction in flight movement over fear on the part of many travellers.

However, about 14 million people travelled on domestic destinations in Nigeria, while seven million travelled on international destinations in 2014

John Ojikutu, secretary, Aviation Round Table and chief executive of Centurion Securities, says that to evade what transpired at Brussels Airport where terrorists detonated explosives, there is a need to coordinate intelligence and security efforts by gathering and adequately sharing information across board.

According to Ojikutu, “The airport passenger terminal hall is a public area and therefore a soft target, we now need screening machines at all access gates into the terminal halls with capability for detecting improvised explosive vapour.

“We must be very concerned now about insider’s threats and must regularly conduct background checks on all staff working in the airport security controlled areas.

“The Close Circuit Television (CCTV) is a good complement to airport security only if it can pre-empt the act of terror attack and not after the attack as it is now playing out in Brussels and had played out in other terror attacks before it in the 9/11, London, Milan and Paris attacks.”

On the recent figures estimated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, he says the Federal Government will need to invest at least N25 billion to construct perimeter and operational fences across all the 22 government-operated airports.