Domestic airline operators in the country have said that it will do aviation stakeholders and the industry a lot of good if the federal government could avail them the clear picture of the ‘modus operandi’ of the new National Carrier known as Nigeria Air.
Although the operators applauded the government’s decision of floating a national carrier but complained that they are yet to know in details, how the newly unveiled Nigeria Air is going to be operated
Speaking at the 22nd Annual Seminar organised by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) held recently in Lagos, managing director /chief executive officer of Medview Airlines, Alhaji Muneer Bankole stated that it is important for Nigerians to give the government the opportunity to come out and be able to tell everybody the template.
Alhaji Bankole maintained that although, it was unveiled in Farnborough, when it is time, stakeholders would have to sit down and ask questions about the airline project.
Emphasising that it is not a threat to domestic airline, Bankole said “Some people feel that the introduction of the national carrier will enable the domestic airlines come together stronger in their business. It is not possible because right now, you know how many domestic airlines are surviving. We are only 5 or 6 carriers operating now. I met 26 when I joined this business.’’
Similarly, chairman of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema expressed excitement on the introduction of National Carrier but advised that government should provide a level playing field for the domestic investors who have put their monies in the airline business without any form of support and protection from government.
Onyema who lamented that airlines are operating in a very harsh economic environment, pointed out that foreign airlines are given preference to the detriment of domestic airlines.
Speaking recently on the issue, Onyema said, “if you say it is a national carrier and it is private investors-driven, are you not saying it is just investors like me, Alhaji Bankole and other investors? So you are you simply saying that government is just supporting another private airline? I do not have a problem with the national carrier per se, it is welcome but it must not be given any undue advantage over other airlines as the owners are investors too. Now, as this airline is coming on stream are they going to take routes already allocated to other airlines and give it to this carrier? These are the things government has not told us.”
Recently, the federal government unveiled the name and livery for the National Carrier with the name Nigeria Air.
During the launch at the Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom, Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika assured that the government had no plans to destroy existing local carriers but promised that the National Carrier will be private sector driven devoid of undue interference from the government.