Text of CHIEF Osita Chidoka’s speech at the Inauguration of the new MMA2 Common User Passenger Processing System ON MAY, 12TH 2015.

If we can improve the people, make our processes transparent, and back same up with requisite technology, then, we will have a world class organization.

While I was with the Federal Road Safety Commission as the Corps Marshal, I made effort to improve the people, by introducing so many things including compulsory IT promotion exams, compulsory use of e-mail and internet facilities for government business; and also, we made it an ISO and world certified organization, we improved technology and other things. There are so many other areas that we improved upon such as drivers’ license processes, vehicle registration and all that. We infused technology into something was ordinarily crude. The technology paid off eventually.

So when I came into the aviation sector, I came with that mindset. I came with a three-prong leadership philosophy termed – MMI which means we need to Measure, Monitor, and Improve. This simply means if we cannot measure, we cannot monitor. And where we cannot monitor, we cannot improve. So, now we have decided to set standard for improvement in the aviation sector. We started by introducing performance management, we have built the web application and today, for those of you who wouldn’t know on twitter, I tweeted on-time performance of Nigerian airlines this morning dropped to an average of 17% for the month of April. April has been the worst month since January when we started the on-time performance check, using the aviation portal.

FirstNation, on its part, still maintained the first position but has dropped from 56% in January to about 38% in February and around 30 plus for the month of March which is still the best among the local airlines. But average performance has dropped significantly.

Why is this important? It is important to measure because that is the only way you can monitor, and that is the only way you can improve. And we want to continue to improve the customer service in Nigeria. By seeing that the average performance of airlines dropped dramatically to 17%, I went back to check the data and I saw that the problem of the fuel scarcity impacts the aviation sector, leading to the drop in the on-time performance.

No doubt, that is not the only problem. Yes there were challenges from the fuel scarcity, yes there were challenges from the election period; but there was a more fundamental problem I saw in that monitoring and that was: for those airlines that do not have vibrant customer service department in service delivery mechanism that can take into context challenges arising from operations.

A fortnight ago, I was at the Airport Abuja. On why I was there, Aero has abandoned some of its passengers at the airport. Those abandoned in Lagos were already rioting and those at Abuja were about rioting. I got the chairman of the airline and she told me she didn’t hear about it because the management staff didn’t communicate with her. Of course, Aero has a standing agreement with an hotel in Abuja for its passengers and all the manager needed to have done was to activate that but she didn’t do that. This means that service delivery failure is still a major concern in the industry. Surely a public presentation, my hope and what people should aspire to will be out soon.

Part of the challenge is what brought us here today. I asked the Chairman of Bi-Courtney how many passengers have passed through this terminal and he said it is roughly about 1.2million passengers every year. Now, the ministry of aviation does not know whether this is 100, 000 people travelling ten times; or 500,000 people travelling twice. But with what they have installed today – the passenger tracking system, at least, we will know in MMA2 the unique passengers how many times they travel in a year.

Again, since I resumed office as the Minister of Aviation, there has been a controversy. FAAN says there are 10 million passengers going through Nigerian airports, the airlines say it is not true, that it can’t be correct. The question now is who carries the passengers? If MMA2 has 1.2 million passengers a year which is where the bulk of local airlines operate from, minus Arik and Air Peace, I wonder where do the other passengers went through? Something as simple as knowing the data of air passengers across the airports is shrouded in mystery.

Technology is going to make it possible for us to be able to say things with more clarity. Therefore what we have seen today with the launch of the CUPPS is a step in the right direction; and that it is coming from the airport Nigerians have voted as the best in the country.

Having said that, what is needed is not about having somebody like me or someone that is better than me to run the affairs of the industry, I think MMA2 has offered the template about how government should about the issue of the operations of airports in the country. Feelers from the stakeholders in the industry including the pilots, grand handlers etc also gave it to the MMA2.

As part of what I will be expecting my successor to do is to take serious feelers from the pilots, listen to them, and too, the navigational aids and airside investment must be given priority. We must do away with the misconception that airports are terminal buildings. Airport is not a terminal building, rather airport include terminal building. As such, training across board must be encouraged.

This technology is wholly welcome, and MMA2 is putting us into it and we want to believe that the improvement in passengers experience in MMA2, the continuous quest for improvement, the continuous quest for excellence is sustained. This continuous improvement is something I would like other managers of airports in Nigeria to begin to emulate. If they cannot truly capture it, all they need to do is just ‘copy and paste’ since the template is already there.

So it is my very good pleasure to congratulate the management of Bi-Courtney and MMA2 in that you have continued to be worthy partners in the aviation sector; what you have done today is a major boost in the nation’s aviation industry; it has once again promoted the concept which I have termed – World Aviation which literally means whether you suffer any problem in any of the airports – Lagos Airport, Enugu Airport, etc, it affects, impacts the whole aviation sector. Whether it is fuel scarcity or whatever, the impact is all over, it affects the passengers, the pilots, the airlines’ sales drop, and everyone gets affected.

So, aviation is a marriage; I must say it’s like a Catholic marriage that you cannot divorce one for the other. That is why the world aviation vision is safety across board, security in all our terminals, and making sure that customer service is at its highest best to increase the number of those who consume aviation services in order to increase revenues for airports, for airport authority, for the regulators and for the nation’s economy.

This is, indeed, is one more step in the aviation industry to make the airport customers-friendly. What MMA2 has done today is to show that what passengers and other airport users see in Dubai, Paris, UK, US can eminently be replicated here in Nigeria.