- Airline Operators Hail Nigeria Air’s Suspension
The Airline Operators of Nigeria has thrown its weight behind the position of the Federal Government to suspend the planned national carrier project in the interest of the nation and to rethink the entire project.
According to it, the nation does not need a national carrier, stressing that like what operates in advanced countries of the world, what Nigeria needed were strong private airlines that would be allowed to operate in a friendly operational environment, with a level playing field and policies that would ensure their survival.
The domestic airline operators had on several occasions criticised the project on the basis that it would stifle their operations because of the enormous patronage and goodwill the proposed airline would bring to the country, while their investments would be threatened.
In a statement on Thursday, the Chairman of AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council for listening to “our many calls for the idea to be suspended.”
“In our opinion, we believe the process was neither transparent nor did it clearly define the role of private investors in the entire process,” he added.
He advised the government to go back to the drawing board and engage with the private sector with transparency on how to position Nigeria as the hub for Africa to take advantage of the strategic geographical location.
Meggison stated that at this time of limited resources and struggle to recover from recession, there were private Nigerian airline investors ready to invest and already investing heavily in the sector and only asking for a friendlier operational environment and infrastructure support.
He added, “Setting up of national carrier will cost Nigeria at least $3bn as a single B777 as of today costs about $320m.
“Is it wise and our priority as a nation to take $3bn from the Nigerian coffers today and put into a venture that will for sure go down the drain within a maximum of five years to establish a national carrier?”