Aviation Expert Says Nigeria Does Not Need A National Carrier, Commends Airports Concession Plan

The proposed concessioning of Nigeria’s airport has been described as a well-intentioned and timely project that will give way for proper management of the nation’s entry points. The managing director of Comrade Air Limited, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim Mohammed stated this in a chat with journalists on Monday, adding that outsourcing the management will address the rot witnessed in some airports.

Mohammed however said the concession process should be well handled with outcome that will be in favour of the country.

“This is indeed a brilliant and timely initiative. Concessions of our international airports are long overdue, especially with the government raising alarm over its lean resources. Seeing how public institutions are managed in Nigeria, with our airports too affected by our poor culture of maintenance, the government is taking a right step forward.

“Recently, Murtala Muhammad International Airport suffered power outage for hours, putting an end to operations within the airport. This tragic incident was an international embarrassment,” he said.

Mohammed said airports ought to give visitors to any country an idea on how the country functions, said Nigerian airports are not serving that important role.

He however advised that “the concession should depend on agreements with bidding companies and also their capability.

“It should favour Nigeria. Nigeria shouldn’t just transfer the national assets unless it’s sure of the terms and capability of the bidding concessionaires.”

The aviation expert however kicked against the idea of plotting a national career saying the idea “contradicts the government’s privatisation policy.

“How can we be talking about concession and nursing the idea of reviving national carrier at the same time? It’s even more so when you take note of the government’s continuous laments about its inability to manage public properties. Isn’t that the reason it’s setting out to sell national assets?

“A national carrier is economically ill-advised. It’s not a profitable venture, at least with what we’ve seen happening within the government. Having a carrier simply to re-establish a national pride shouldn’t be the focus of a country in recession.”

Mohammed also expressed skepticism on calls for adoption of expatriate quota in the nation’s aviation sector, saying though the country has adequate professionals to run the system, quality should not compromised.

“There are already outstanding Nigerian professionals occupying key positions in the aviation industry, so I don’t know where this is coming from. We have exceptional Nigerian pilots, engineers and other professionals competing excellently with their foreign counterparts, so the question of their availability to fill in these roles shouldn’t even arise. What we should be concerned about is whether such policy is likely to lower the quality of airline operations in Nigeria.” Read the full story here.