President of Aviation Safety Round Table (ASRT) Dr. Gabriel Olowo has called for a private sector-driven airline urging that government should not try in any way to involve itself completely in a new national carrier just as the expert threw his weight behind a national airline for Nigeria.
In his advice to the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu tagged, “National Carrier Unending Debate-Advice To The New Government,” Olowo said that given that the Nigerian nation desires national carrier and the unending accusations and counter-accusations on how and how not to proceed, including court injunctions, labour crisis among others, he advised the new government to completely stay clear of doing direct business in oil and gas, communications, aviation, and other sectors.
Rather, he called on the government to drive the solution through the private sector and stakeholders.
The 20 or more licensed airline operators in Nigeria, he said should form two to three strong alliances and or merge to form the flag carriers.
Each alliance according to Olowo must parade an aircraft fleet size of 50 each either through direct leases, acquisitions, or alliances among others.
His words, “The carriers will in total be parading 150 aircraft to equate one Ethiopian Airlines (the largest airline in Africa) which today operate 144 modern aircraft to more than 150 domestic and international destinations across five continents.
“Large operational fleet and not share capital is the necessary and sufficient condition for good on-time performance (OTP) of airlines. Thereafter, ensure all BASA are reviewed for competitive reciprocity with full government backing to the three flag carriers who will reciprocate to all the destinations being currently operated by foreign airlines only”.
Olowo hinted that banking regulators made mergers happen successfully in the banking sector( with some surgical pain,) and today the country can boast of a strong and competitive banking sector, urging the aviation regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to do same in the circumstance.
“Needless emphasising the advantage of three reliable Nigerian flag carriers in terms of economic tariffs, efficient passenger experience, curb brain drain, reduced foreign airline home remittances, reduce unemployment”, he added.