The establishment of Nigeria Air was to rectify the failures of the past in operations of national carriers by government and the private sector, former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said.
Sirika said during an interaction with journalists on Monday in Abuja that the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari incorporated Nigeria Air as a private company.
“When we looked at past efforts to drive a national carrier by both the government and private sector, we saw that we need to initiate a different approach that will launch Nigeria into global reckoning.
“The idea was that we should have less of government investment to make it a purely business driven venture that will work effectively and efficiently and achieve world class standard.
“We therefore invited local and foreign investors with credible records to form part of the proposed national carrier. The shareholders of this airline went through due process before their selection,” he said.
Sirika pointed out that the display of the aeroplane that heralded the inauguration was a market strategy employed by the shareholders to launch the business in the minds of customers in Nigeria.
He said that every business venture has different strategy of making lasting impression on the minds of its different target audience, adding that no money was spent in doing that on May 26.
The former Minister said that as an expert in aviation industry the estimated take off period of the Nigeria Air would be in the next three or four weeks.
Sirika decried the gullible nature of the public that consumes all stories without subjecting such to strenuous scepticism and caution.
“Nigerians need to have more faith in the government to encourage it carry out development programmes and projects that are beneficial to the populace.
“The general apathy and disbelieve in anything that government does must change,” he said.
The former Minister gave an example of an encounter with a Kenyan who chose to have strong belief in government policy even though she did not vote for it during election.
“I asked the lady why she was still driving taxi long after hours and she replied that it was because government had asked everyone to put in an extra one hour in order to improve the economy.
“She said even though she didn’t vote for the party in power, she had to believe them because they are the government in power and will take the right step in the interest of its citizen.”
Industry experts say starting an airline is tough and running a profitable one even tougher.
They listed some requirements for establishing an airline to include obtaining air transport licence, airline operating permit, air operator certificate, and foreign carrier operating permit.
It also requires registering an aircraft, aerodrome certification and air transport licence.
Nigeria Air has an ownership structure of 49 per cent held by Ethiopian Airlines, 46 per cent by Nigerian private investors, including SAHCO, MRS and other institutional investors, and five per cent by the Federal Government.
The airline was unveiled three days before the end of the Buhari administration.
WIA honours Dana Air as Airline wins CSR award
Dana Air has been honoured by the Women in Aviation for celebrating 15 years in Nigeria’s Aviation Industry at the Annual Conference of Women in Aviation Nigeria Chapter held recently in Kano.
According to the President of Women in Aviation Nigeria, Rejoice Ndudinachi, “this year’s conference is themed: Connect, Engage, Inspire, and the highlight is presentation of awards to persons and organisations who have distinguished themselves in the society.”
Similarly, Dana Air has bagged the Corporate Social Responsibility airline of the year Award 2023 at the City Business News Summit 2023, held recently in Lagos at Oriental Hotels.
Speaking on the double honours, Dana Air’s Chief Operating Officer, Ememobong Ettete, said, “Dana Air is committed to the theme of this year’s WIA conference as always and this is a well-deserved recognition for us and it just goes to show that people see and appreciate the little things we do to support not just our dear country but communities, youths, the women in aviation, our industry and even the entertainment industry.”
“As a responsible corporate citizen, we remain committed to supporting worthy causes across the country and contributing to her growth and development as we have no other option than to build our country and see it achieve its full potential,” he added.
Having flown over 36 million passengers in the last 15 years of its operation, Dana Air is one of Nigeria’s leading airlines with a mixed fleet of Boeing aircraft and daily flights to major cities in Nigeria.
NAHCON urges FAAN to provide facilities at departure centres
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to provide navigation equipment and facilities at Hajj departure centres across the country.
Deputy Director, Information and Publication, NAHCON, Malam Mousa Ubandawaki, in a statement, said the acting Chairman of the commission, Jalal Arabi, made the call when he hosted members of FAAN’s Hajj Committee.
Arabi noted that the provision of necessary navigational equipment and facilities at the hajj departure centres would facilitate a seamless transportation of the 2023 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
“You are a formidable partner in the Hajj operation. Though, there are certain considerations put in place during hajj transportation, we expect you to tell us the state of the various airports used for transportation of pilgrims.
“The committee should be time conscious as they would have limited time to carry out their assignments, going by the time line set by Saudi Arabia for all nations to conclude all Hajj arrangements.”
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Director, Airport Operations, Capt. Mukhtar Muye, said that FAAN commenced preparations for the 2024 hajj about two months ago.
This, according to him, is with a view to achieving a hitch-free Hajj operation.
He assured that the exercise would be completed before the commencement of the transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia from the 16 departure airports across the country.
Muye, however, urged the commission to persuade the Tour Operators companies to comply with the arrangements of transportation of their pilgrims through the international Terminals instead of the Hajj Terminal.
According to him, that can deny the authorities valuable revenue that they are supposed to generate for the purpose of providing the necessary infrastructural facilities at the airports.
He assured the commission of the authority’s commitments to discharge its duties diligently so that Nigerian Pilgrims could experience a hitch-free exercise.
Aviation yet to fully recover from pandemic losses – IATA
The International Air Transport Association said the aviation sector is still recovering from losses of the pandemic which crippled flight operations globally.
Africa lost an estimated $7.7 billion in the aviation sector in 2020 as restrictions were put in place by governments to combat the spread of COVID-19, leading to a drop in traffic.
IATA estimated that Nigeria lost about N21 billion monthly during the outbreak. Analysts said it would take until 2024 for the situation in the aviation sector to improve and return to 2019 levels.
AITA’s Regional Vice-President, Africa and Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi, at the 55th AFRAA Annual General Meeting, warned governments to desist from seeing the aviation sector as cash cows if the sector must harness its growth potential.
He said, “Africa’s aviation industry is still recovering from significant losses due to the pandemic.
“To make up for this shortfall, governments should avoid imposing higher fees, levies, carbon taxes or new taxes on air transport, trade or tourism.
“These measures would only make air travel more expensive and less accessible in Africa, where the average airfare is already 30 percent higher than the industry average and the jet fuel cost is 10-20 per cent higher than the global average.”
While the sector continues to recover, higher costs will discourage customers who are sensitive to prices, which will impact revenue,” he said.
“They would also hamper economic development and limit the opportunities for job creation and income generation. High cost leads to high price, which reduces demand and growth in a price-elastic market, and ultimately affects connectivity negatively.”
He advised the governments to follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s policies on charges and infrastructure and consult with airlines and industry to ensure a fair and cost-effective operational environment that benefits a more connected continent.
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