An aviation expert, Mr Nick Fadugba, on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to merge Arik Air and Aero Contractors Airlines to establish a new national carrier for Nigeria.
Fadugba, the Chief Executive Officer, African Business Aviation Services, gave the advice at the 23rd Annual Conference and Awards organised by the League of Aviation and Airport (LAAC) in Ikeja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event was: “Boosting Aviation Investment through Policy”.
Fadugba said that both airlines were already under the receivership of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and could be utilised for the national carrier project.
He said: “Aviation in Nigeria, if properly harnessed, can become one of the keys to Nigeria’s future prosperity.
“A situation in which over 90 per cent of international air traffic to and from Nigeria is carried by non-Nigerian airlines is damaging to the economy in several ways.”
According to him, these include huge capital flight from Nigeria, the continued deterioration of the Nigerian aviation industry and the loss of skilled aviation employment opportunities.
Fadugba said he was in support of the Federal Government’s plan to launch a new national carrier with minority government shareholding, adding that it must be done transparently and skillfully.
“To succeed, the proposed new national airline needs a sound business plan, strategic industry partners, adequate funding, an experienced management team and well-trained staff.
“It also needs a fleet of modern aircraft, a comprehensive route network, on-time performance and good customer service.
“Good governance and no government involvement in the management of the airline will be essential.
“The Federal Government should also create a conducive environment for other local airlines to flourish in Nigeria alongside the new national carrier,” he said. (NAN)