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Nigeria Air: Stakeholders worry about Management, unions insist on payment of NAL ex-staff entitlement


……..urge Minister not to be too forward

……..leave transaction adviser to do it job….stakeholders

The unveiling of a new national carrier logo and name for the country in Farnborough Air show in London today by the Minister of State Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika is received with mixed feelings by stakeholders in the industry.

Commenting on the new carrier named Nigeria Air, the Secretary General, National Union of Air Transport Employees,NUATE comrade Olayinka Abioye says the carrier can only fly and be successful if government do the needful of paying the workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited that the new carrier is replacing.

The NAL ex-staff are being owed as severance benefits over N78 billion which the government promised to pay but till now nothing has been done.

” This government is playing to the gallery, more than 10,000 former workers of Nigeria Airways served this country, service this National Carrier that went dead in the hands of Obasanjo, the FG is owing them N78 billion as their severance benefits, the president of this great country, President Muhammadu Buhari approved that that money be paid and this money as we speak has not been paid and some people are toasting to the success of the National carrier”.


His counterpart in the Association of Nigeria Professional,ANAP comrade Abdulrazak Saidu said, the unveiling was nothing to take serious, “they left this country to go an unveil their National carrier in another country, you think this people are are serious about this, when there is nothing on ground here, we don’t believe in all these, they have deceived us enough, we have Air Nigeria, Virgin Nigeria now you say Nigeria Air, Nigeria Air is what, is it an airline?”.

President, Aviation RoundTable Safety Initiative, ART elder Gbenga Olowo while applauding government’s effort in fulfilling it promise to restart a National Carrier said government must not be too forward in doing certain things that the transaction adviser is expected to do.
” The logo looks good, I can see the flame go into the air and I hope it doesn’t flame out”

” I am expecting to hear from the transaction adviser the modus operandi of that airline, that is the most important thing to me, the transaction adviser should tell us the boards, the management of the airline, these are people who should take decision because I heard the Minister is already talking with the aircraft manufacturer, lessors and things like that. The decision about aircraft funds, whether to lease or purchase, if you are doing to do a private airline, this should rest on the board and management and I don’t think that is the role of the minister”.

“I am eagerly waiting to hear from the transaction adviser to hear the modus operandi of Nigeria Air, I am believing government that it is a private carrier and is coming to compete with the rest of the carriers on ground because we do not want a government monopoly, we want a competitive operator that is going to be very formidable not only against Nigeria but against all the partners that flies into Nigeria that is what I expect”.

Retired Group Captain John Ojikutu also commenting on the national carrier said this is a new beginning for the sector, adding that several attempts have been made with Virgin Nigeria and Air Nigeria and hope that after 20 years nigeria will succeed this time.
According to him,”I just pray this attempt we are making now, we are going to carry it to the end. If we have about 70 BASA and as at today we are not reciprocating it apart from those going on regional routes, is a new beginning but I just hope it is going to be a new new beginning”.

He however express fear about the management and ownership of the airline, “we don’t know the people that are going to run the airline, we don’t know the technical partner yet, we don’t know the Nigerians that are going to buy into it, theNigerian investors that are buying into it”.

In the area of partnership, Ojikutu said the new airline should never think of partnering it competitors, he suggested that the airline should go the way the Gulf airlines started.
“The Gulf airlines started as Gulf airways, it is the Gulf airways that gave birth to Emirates, Etihad, we need to get people outside this country, outside the present market who can help outside our competitors, you cannot go into business with your competitors”.

The Minister of state Aviation Hadi Sirika while unveiling the new National Carrier logo and name of the airline at the ongoing Farnborough Airshow in London in the presence of prospective investors, airline manufacturers and strategic partners said the government equity of the organization will not be more than 5 per cent.

He said, “It is true that 80% of carriers in Africa are non-African. Nigeria has not been a player for a very long time. We use to be a dominant carrier in the continent of Africa through Nigeria Airways. Sadly, Nigeria Airways is no more. Government has been quite liberal by liberalizing the sector at the tail end of 70s and early 80s to allow private sector to participate in creating a robust airlines that would serve the market, and that would transform the economy of that region. Unfortunately, the stories of the initiatives which were well recognized and respected, has not yielded the desired goals of achieving a top class, competitive, efficient and vibrant carriers. With the government of Nigeria, it is extremely important that the service is provided”.

“The reason being, there is a service that is needed and also, it will offer employment opportunities that will kick start and ginger and double up and rush the growth of the economy of Nigeria. So we take it as an extremely very important venture. And that is why government thought it has the responsibility upon itself much more than a social in trying to create a new National Carrier that will be typical and private sector led and driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements”.

Already 81 routes have selected 81 routes have been selected, 40 for domestic, regional and sub-regional and of course International routes, about 41.

According to Sirika, “this airline is a business and not a social service. It is not intended to kill any airline in Nigeria but complement it and promote it. It must be done in a right way so that it be here to stay. Government will not hold shares beyond 5% at the top most. This airline is having the backing of the government. Government will come up with funding according to the Business Case that has been delivered to government”.

“We will fast track our IATA membership and go through IOSA Audit soon. We are not afraid to go through this because we have demonstrated that Nigeria is a responsible state”.


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