With the indigenous airlines indebtedness put at N200 billion, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has described the aviation as a sick industry that is faced with high operating cost and rising fuel prices.
The Director-General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, speaking at a forum in Lagos on the efforts of government to assist the airlines overcome their myriad of problems, lamented the fact that the N300 billion aviation intervention fund released by the federal government has not helped the industry much as the fund was diverted by banks to service old debts owed them by airlines.
The director-general who admitted that aviation is a very expensive industry, with things made worse by rising fuel prices and unstable and high exchange rate said the intervention fund was meant for the airlines to access funds at a single digit interest rate of seven per cent, instead of 25 per cent charged by banks so that they will be able to increase their service levels and acquire aircraft among others.
“That was what we asked for, but the banks saw the money and decided to pay up their loans first”, he lamented.
He, however, said the airlines could assist themselves to offer better service and grow their business by seeking ways to cooperate with each other through code share arrangements and interlining agreements.
“Domestic airlines should begin to interline, they should begin to code shares so as to reap from the industry”, stressed Demuren.