The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has recorded a revenue decline of, at least, 90 per cent this year, forcing the organisation to make key adjustments in its operations.
Managing Director of FAAN, Hamisu Yadudu, said though the cash crunch was not peculiar, it compelled many to be more innovative and cost-effective.
Yadudu, speaking at the Servicom Networking Meeting held in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, said the year tested our mettle in every aspect of life.
He noted that the aviation sector plays a vital role in facilitating economic growth and development, with attendant varieties of economic and social benefits.
“Some of the main economic impacts of aviation arose from its ability to generate employment opportunities and wealth while effectively supporting global business and tourism and facilitating trade.
“However, the industry is one of the worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the sudden drop in demand for air travel, bringing the airports to a standstill coupled with the air traffic reduction, low passenger booking and travel restrictions imposed by some countries.
“The airports have lost take-off and landing fees as well as passenger service charges (PSC), which were the major revenue-generating points for the airports. According to IATA, airports revenue globally dropped to 90 per cent in April 2020, and still went down by 75 per cent in August,” Yadudu said.
He added that with the assistance of government measures and industry guidance, recovery had started with the aviation sector bringing out some guidelines to ensure the health and safety of passengers, crew, and the rest of the airport workers.
General Manager, Customer Service of FAAN, Ebele Okoye, noted that the COVID-19 outbreak hit the airports hard and has further stalled development in emerging markets with air travel fallen sharply and airlines cutting capacity.
Okoye cited Airports Council International’s (ACI) statistics, saying there were well over 4,000 airports across the globe with 2016 scheduled traffic generating revenue of $172.2 billion.
In 2017, it increased by 6.2 per cent. The airport industry has steadily expanded in recent years, driven by strong growth in passenger traffic. In 2019, total trips exceeded nine billion and increased by 3.4 per cent year-on-year.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has upturned the growth trajectory with a dramatic impact on airport traffic and revenue, accompanying economic crisis driving lower demands and passenger traffic worldwide.
He said: “The drop in passenger traffic almost completely paralysed both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues, such as landing charges for aircraft and also security charges. Consequently, a sharp fall in revenues, for FAAN which went as low as 25-30 per cent drop of her pre-COVID-19 revenue, amounts to N18.9 billion, following a 90 per cent decline in revenue in the first half of 2020.
“The reality of today’s service delivery is that customers are in control. Customers love innovation, and often at low-cost. In our interaction with them at work, let us strive to seek a balanced approach that would meet and exceed customers’ needs and expectations.
“What should matter to us is that when customers make use of our facilities, their experience should be a positive one. This makes them become loyal customers, and therefore build revenue for the system.”