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Nigeria Air: ‘There are more questions begging for answers’ domestic operators must partner…..Fadugba

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Former Secretary General. Africa Airlines Association, AFRAA, Mr. Nike Fadugba says government needs to talk to Nigerians more about the new National Carrier to put an end to the fears and criticisms that greeted the unveiling of the airline name and logo outside the country.

At the just concluded 22nd seminar of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents, LAAC in Lagos, Fadugba who was the guest lecturer, said there are many questions begging for answers irrespective of the minister’s explanation on paper recently, adding that “rather than doing it abroad we need to come home and explain to the whole nation what is the concept”.

He said if the new Airline comes into operation, government as the de facto owners of Arik and Aero airlines, government will be managing three airlines as it were.

The former AFRAA chief noted that the interest of all regarding the new Airline would be “the management, the funding, the fleet. More importantly I am interested in how does the national carrier interface with all the other airlines in Nigeria. Because remember that the government is the de facto owner of two other airlines: Arik and Aero. So this is the first time I have seen one government own three airlines. So the government needs to coordinate its airlines strategy n terms of moving forward”.

Fadugba called on domestic operators to cooperate and partner to harness the huge domestic market that abounds in the country.

“Nigerian is blessed with the biggest domestic aviation market on the Africa continent, bigger than South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopian and many other countries. And yet we have not been able to harness this market for our own benefit. The beneficiaries are foreign airlines, our airline need to work together. If you have 5 aircraft, 10 aircraft, it is nothing in the world of aviation. We need a critical max. if you look Ethiopia, they have a 100 aircraft, that is one airline, and yet we have 10 airlines here with maybe 5 aircraft each”.

“We need to work together otherwise the economics of the business are not in favour of the operators. They need to come together to scale up to get a critical max. They can work together in training, maintenance, in spare pooling, aircraft acquisitions. There are many areas African airlines and Nigerian airlines in particular can work together. So we need more cooperation in Nigeria among our airline brothers and sisters”, he concluded.

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