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Poor load factor: AAMON Chair urges domestic operators to Codeshare, laments harsh operating environment…


Chairman, Association of Aircraft Maintenance Organization of Nigeria, AAMON, Engr. Isaac David Balami wants domestic airline operators to unite and work together to sustain their operations through code share and merger.

This is just as he said there is no better time than now for operators to put away their ego and save themselves from running into debts with the current poor passenger load factor they are recording in all the routes.

Engr. Isaac David Balami

Engr. Balami in a chat with reporters in Lagos said a situation where 3 airlines schedule to fly to the same destination carrying 20 to 30 passengers each on an aircraft with over a 100 seats does not make a good business sense.
He stressed that if the operators reach a code share agreement all such passengers can be taken to that destination on a full aircraft operated by one airline, adding that this have been proved to be a win-win for many airlines in the world who have adopted this strategy.

“The problem of domestic airlines is first and foremost is that there is no unity, the way and manner Air France and KLM is working together, you hardly see two, three airlines coming to work to together. You see three airlines taking off at the same time with 5,5 passengers and they cannot say let us merger and they cannot say let only one person go because of pride and lack of unity.”

He stated that if the strategic is embraced by operators, they must and be willing to avoid any default to sustain the agreement.

According to the AAMON Chairman, “So the problem is that we need to look at that critically, we have issues, it is not easy, we have to be all hands on deck, I look forward to airlines coming together as soon as possible to start doing this code sharing, at some point an airline we tell you that my airline is new generation, your own is old generation how can you do code sharing? But there could be a balance.”

Engr. Balami who is also the Managing Director, 7Star Global Hangar said Nigerian airlines have faced and are still facing tough times because the operating environment is harsh for business to thrive, adding that access to forex is difficult, high cost of aviation fuel, huge taxes and lack of government support for its airlines on the regional and international space among others are the problems of airlines.

“We have failed that is just the truth and we need to have a deep reflection but aside that, that is just one variable, there are so many other variables. I was a member of the national carrier committee and we looked at all the variables, I was privileged to be in that committee, what are the challenges, to have a sustainable airline or nations carrier you must have a world class maintenance facility, there are airlines that are doing well with their two, three aircraft, managing their life, they went for C-check and they couldn’t come back because of forex, the airline went down, there are airlines today that stopped flying to Dubai like Arik, they couldn’t compete with Emirates because the government couldn’t subsidize in fuel the way the Dubai government is subsidizing for Emirates Air”.

“What do I mean? You are buying fuel in Nigeria at one dollar then N200 and something per little at one dollar and your competitor Emirates  competing with Arik on the same route, the same aircraft is buying aviation fuel for 15 cents 75% difference the amount you buy fuel in your country, how do you compete? At some point if you ask they will tell you Emirates did not make profit for so many years I don’t know about now but the country never saw it that Emirates was set up yo make profit, they know the people that are on transit, do free duty shopping, they know the people that go into Dubai visa free and they get visa within 24 hours and they go into hotels and they pay VAT and people don’t default in remitting the VAT to the government by the time you put those things, duty shops, clothing, people goes to buy houses, people say in apartments and everybody pay tax, what happens, the country is making it am not talking about Emirates making profit alone that is when there is a chain reaction”.

“When you have a country were the government has not done enough in the last 30 years to support, no matter the capital you are injecting into your operations, yes, corporate culture, corporate governance is a major problem with the airline whereby you give with the left hand and take with the right hand, we know that but all airlines are not doing that in all honesty”, he added.

Engr. Balami however noted that, there are airlines that are trying their best,  airlines that have been there for over 15-20 years unlike the normal lifespan that is 10 years but no encouragement.

On the training facility for manpower development for the industry, Balami lamented that after many years, government owned training college NCAT, Zaria is yet to migrate from post graduate training to Ph.D, adding that pilots after the basic have to go abroad for simulator.
“You are talking about lack of world class training facility that after 50 something years NCAT Zaria it is still doing post graduate, you can’t do Ph.D there. NCAT Zaria can only do basic training for pilots you must go to UK, US, South Africa for your simulator, how much is money for visa, how much is money for tickets, how much is money for esta code and everything? How can the airlines survive?”


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