The chief executive officer of African Aviation Services, Mr. Nick Fadugba has advised against the extablishment of a national carrier that would be to the disadvantage of private carriers.
Speaking in an interview with Journalists at the 2019 League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents, LAAC Conference in Lagos with the theme : Boosting aviation investments through policy, Fadugba noted that the national carrier should not be done to the detriment of private carriers like Air Peace and others.
Fadugba appealed to the government to support the country’s private airlines.
In his words:” I want to appeal to the government to support private airlines like Air peace and many others, of course we want a national carrier but this should not be done to the disadvantage of private carriers like Air Peace. Air Peace is launching long haul services to Dubai but they need support from government and from the flying public in Nigeria. I don’t see why Emirates coming into Nigeria from Dubai why they can’t partner with Air Peace. If Air peace can partner with Emirates to Dubai, it is a win-win. So Emirates shouldn’t have the lion share of the business and it is the government that can influence that”.
While appealing to Nigerian airlines to come together and work together in operations, training, maintenance, Fadugba stated that no airline can succeed working alone.
“Even if we don’t merge, we need to partner with one another. The average fleet size in Nigeria is about maximum 10 aircraft and yet we are competing with British Airways that has over 400 aircraft. Delta airlines have over 500 aircraft even Ethiopian airlines has a 110 aircraft. So how can small airlines compete? And I am not being disrespectful by the way, the airlines I am not talking about is fleet size, I am not talking about commitment to the industry but I want to be realistic, because this industry is cut throat. If you don’t have a critical mass in terms of size, in term of good management, in terms of fleet, in terms of good network, it is very hard to succeed,” Fadugba explained.
The chief executive officer of African Aviation Services regreted the liquidation of Nigerian airways.
Fadugba while maintaining that the liquidation was not necessary, pointed out that Kenya Airways which was in a worse position than Nigerian Airways at the time was turned around.
He noted that an air route to Nigeria is like an oil block.
According to him: “We could have saved it but we didn’t. However, since Nigerian airways was liquidated there was no airline to reciprocate on bilateral air service agreements, so foreign airlines gained a huge advantage over Nigerian airlines. But now we need to sit down, we need to review the situation. Don’t forget an air route to Nigeria is like an oil block, it has economic value, we cannot just be giving them away free of charge. These days people don’t like to pay for BASAs but the fact is until we have a stronger airline industry in Nigeria, we need to review the setup because all airlines in Nigeria including Air Peace are complaining that the system today is unfair, it is not in our interest”.