The suspension of Nigeria Air by the Federal government has been described as bad omen for aviation stakeholders in the country following its inability to allow airline operators to plan their operations.
The Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the past three years have been nursing the idea to bring back the national carrier but began on a faulty foundation.
Elder Gbenga Olowo, president Aviation Round Table (ART) who spoke at the 4th quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting organized by the Aviation Safety Roundtable Initiative (ASRTI) in Lagos said the suspension of Nigeria Air has distabilised the aviation industry.
Speaking on the theme ‘short lifespan of Nigeria airlines, the importance of corporate governance’, Olowo said the announcement of the commencement of the national carrier was a vote of no confidence on the existing airlines in the country.
“The announcement of Nigeria Air in the last three years of President Buhari shook the industry. That announcement was a vote of no confidence on the sector; that the Airlines that are existing are not doing well. ‘We are going to float another airline’.
“And three years after we suddenly learned that project is being suspended and that made all of us start speculating why, how, what happened and we will continue to speculate until we hear exactly what happened.
I will say that it destabilizes the sector because in planning with the Nigerian Airlines in the last three years, they would factor in that announcement. If I were to be the MD of a Nigerian airline, I would factor in the arrival of powerful competitors.”
He challenged the Federal Government to come out and tell Nigerians whether the project was only suspended or it would be resuscitated.
Chairman of the occasion and Director of Studies, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies, Prof. Anthony Kila speaking in the same vein, said, “Nigeria Air was conceived on power point, shared on Adobe and died on Twitter”.
Captain Dapo Olumide former managing director of Aero Contractors, in his submission, decried poor business planning, old and inefficient aircraft and colossal risk factor which has led to the collapse of the of so many airlines in the country in the past.
Capt Olumide noted that government interference remained the greatest killer of business in the country.