Omoh Ohiomoba a thirty something year old lady and the Manager Economics, communication & marketing ACI Africa is the lady behind the large flat screen computer.
This a dictionary of some sort on issues related to the aviation industry, especially Airports Council International (ACI).
The kind of nitty-gritty knowledge she has about the industry is expected from veterans who have spent at least two decades on the job.
Omoh only stayed worked with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for five years before she joined ACI.
Though her work is challenging, she is happy doing it for ACI, the trade body for all the airports in the world.
According to her, “ACI is divided into regions in order to be closer to its clients or stakeholders launching into a detailed description of the organisation”.
“There are five regions: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. The Africa region has 62 members in 47 countries, managing 250 airports.”
She said ACI has four regional committees in order to achieve its goal and they include; Safety & Technical; Facilitation & Transportation, Economic & Environment, and Human Resources.
Although the organization is a non-profit organization but it has business partners.
We have 28 business partners who do business with airports in Africa. These businesses offer services such as ticketing, construction, architecture, fire service, training, IT and other airport services. We have El Mansur Atelier Group, an architectural firm, Japan Tobacco and Mace among others,” she explain.
“Business transformation is top of the agenda for ACI Africa. Which is why the conference is timely,” she says.
The Nigerian technocrat who has travelled a lot over the course of her engagement with ACI revealed that most airports in Africa are only struggling to remain in business. They are state-run and the only lifeline for many of them is government subsidy. Yet, like all other businesses, airports need to be viable to meet their own operating expenses.
She explains, “The plan is to move airports from being nonviable to self-sustaining entities. There are different ways to transform to being viable — it’s a case by case basis. Where privatisation might work for one airport it might not for another. Each airport has to be looked as a case on its own. Privatisation is one way, improving or increasing aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues is another.
“This conference is going to touch on most of the areas airports should pay attention to so that when the delegates go back, they’ll look at their peculiar situation and think of ways to handle their transformation,” Omoh says with enthusiasm. She expresses a conviction that the conference will work on the mindset of airport managers, motivating them to see more sustainable ways of doing the business by exploring the abundant opportunities in public-private partnerships (PPP).
She asserts that the private investor in a PPP agreement will be hungry for results. “Most airports in the world have concessions for a lot of their operations. Some airlines are co-owners and co-managers of airports. Why aren’t we looking at these opportunities and possibilities?” She asks rhetorically.
Shifting the focus back to the ACI Africa conference scheduled to hold from 14th to 20th April she pointed out that more of the issues would be discussed there, while the conversations would continue for a long time after.
“The conference doesn’t end on 20th April at the Oriental Hotel. It continues afterwards. At the end of the conference, participants will go back with knowledge they can apply to their work. This is one the quickest gains,” she says.
Switching smoothly to matters about the 59th ACI Africa Board and Committees Meetings & Regional Conference and Exhibition, the latest project she is working on for ACI Africa as the secretariat overseer, Omoh explains that, making airport business sustainable for airport managers is one of the main goals of ACI.