Mr. George Ureisi, Chief Operating Officer, of Ibom Air, on Thursday, urged domestic airlines in the country to invest in modern equipment in order to serve customers appropriately.

Ureisi said this at the 30th Anniversary of Phillips Consulting Limited which was held at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The theme of the event was: “Aviation in Nigeria, What Next?: Discussing the current aviation issues and charting a new direction for the Nigerian Aviation Industry”.

Ureisi said that domestic airlines must professionalise and adhere to the principles of running businesses.

He said that airlines must be entities and their owners must avoid tampering with their revenue.

“The aviation industry is one of the most critical sectors in the country so it is of utmost importance that we join hands together to ensure that we solve the present challenges we are facing.

“It is imperative for domestic airlines to invest in modern equipment that would help to serve their customers better, which in turn would translate to improved customer services and boosting of image.

“Airlines must be professional in running the affairs of their business because the aviation industry is capital intensive and strict principles must be adhered to, to sustain the business.

“Owners of airlines must avoid tampering with the revenue of its airline for personal or charity work because it can cripple the business in the long term,” he said.

Ureisi noted that airports across the country must follow their master plan in order to complete with others across the globe.

He said that airport officials must be professional in delivering services to customers in order to create a conducive and enabling environment.

The airline chief said that accessibility to forex was a major challenge in the industry, urging the government to intervene and find a long lasting solution to the issue

“Airline operators must be given preferential treatment because we need forex to run and maintain the airlines, which is critical for the industry,” he said.

Iyabo Sosina, former Secretary-General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), said that many airline operators lacked good corporate governance.

“The aviation industry is very capital intensive, so it is important to note that people shouldn’t delve into it without having a long-term plan.

” One of the issues on the ground is that some airlines are not properly set up, they don’t have business plan and lack good corporate governance.

“Some airlines are not up to the task, so they need to look inwards and ask questions that would challenge and give the foresight to act better,” she said.

She noted that the domestic airlines left gaps for foreign airlines to penetrate the sector.

“I totally agree that the government has its flaws but domestic airlines didn’t have the means to bridge the gap hence the need of the government to do that.”

Mr Raul Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, noted that font offices were being created across the passport offices in order to decongest them.

Aregbesola, who was represented by the Special Assistant on Innovation and Delivery, Mr Ademola Adeyinka, noted that applicants could track the production of their passports online.

He said that the ministry would ensure that the challenges faced by applicants were resolved in the nearest future.

The Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mr Noimot Oyedele, commended the efforts and impact of Phillips Consulting to the nation as a whole.

She said that the importance of aviation could not be overemphasized adding that the Ogun government was working to create one in the state.

Mr Foluso Phillips, Founder, Phillips Consulting,  noted that the aviation industry is a critical sector, adding that its challenges must be addressed urgently.

He noted that the company’s 30th anniversary was a show of commitment and the impact the organisation had added to the country.