The federal government has been warned against establishing a national carrier in the country at this moment but to focus on development of the aviation sector.
An aviation expert Mr. Herbert Odika, chief executive FMC aviation Services Limited who gave this warning while exchanging views with aviation correspondents in his office at Ikeja said national carrier at this moment was not a priority.
Odika explained that it will be difficult for the government to meet up with subsides associated with operating a national carrier in the country.
The former regional manager with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Limited NAHCO declared “A national carrier must be ready to subsidize its charges by government. Ethihad, Saudi Air, give concessions to their national carriers in areas of fueling which is the area where the main money goes. Will Nigeria be ready to reduce taxes or increase it”
Mr. Odika noted that sometimes agencies in the aviation sector will be blamed for not meeting up with their targets but they do not have a choice than to look for areas where they will increase their charges and frustrate the airlines and associated organizations that support the airlines.
To revive the airline business in the country, Mr. Odika cautioned airline operators to do away with all types of Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleet, form alliance and do away with ego for maximum utilization and profit making.
He explained that the choice of B737 by airline operators in the country was responsible for the non survival of airline business in the country.
Odika explained that B737 used for an hour flight by airlines in the country were also used by Kenya, Egypt and Ethiopia airlines for between five and half hours flights while some have over seven hours resistance.
He noted that in the days of Nigeria airways the Fokker aircraft were used for domestic operations while the Boeing aircraft were used for regional flights.
“The B737 is not a domestic aircraft because the charges, costs of running 737 the fuel cost for a returning flight is running near half a million naira. The industry is not making profit because of the aircraft type we are using for domestic flights presently”
Describing the B737 as a wonderful aircraft Mr. Odika said it has high maintenance cost compared to other aircraft types.
He advised airlines operators to seek alternative to Boeing aircraft if they were to remain in business adding that the cost factor of maintaining a 737 in the country was not cheap hence the business was failing.
Odika explained that he Bombader aircraft was very easy and cost effective in terms of maintenance “Get prop jets they are very safe, can we afford to keep B737 in the air”
On the issue of pilots unemployment, he said a lot of pilots struggles in the country to get job because they lack the flying hours required for employment and advised government to train these pilots through giving airlines tax relief.