The Nigerian aviation industry has the potential to contribute in excess of 5% to the nation's gross domestic product and support over 1 million jobs. Nigeria's recent achievements and Level 3 rating in the state safety programme implementation process have positioned the country to become a travel hub. However, the inherent challenges facing the industry must be addressed before this status can be achieved.
The Nigerian business aviation industry has the potential to expand significantly as the economy grows and diversifies, but some issues must be addressed in order to maximise results. As such, the business aviation industry needs an effective policy that will harness its potential and attract more foreign investment, as well as address safety and national security concerns.
The Civil Aviation Regulations were first promulgated in 2006 in order to establish national requirements that align with the Civil Aviation Act 2006. The regulations were most recently amended in 2015, following a review by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority which aimed to align the regulations with recent amendments to the standard and recommended practices contained in the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and industry observations.
Over the years, questions have arisen as to the effectiveness and profitability of Nigeria's bilateral air service agreements (BASAs) for the country's economy. It is apparent that certain BASAs have been negotiated or renegotiated without extensive consideration of the commercial elements required for the industry to experience the proposed targeted benefits of such agreements. Further, there has been little emphasis on the economic realities which Nigeria is facing.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in conjunction with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, recently commenced implementation of the Africa-Indian Ocean Plan Aerodrome Certification Project for two of Nigeria's 26 airports. The benefits of ICAO certification are considerable – for example, it will help the government to achieve its aim of attracting investors into Nigeria by boosting the country's aviation safety rating.