…Says Adesina Was Ill-Informed On States Of Airlines on the continent
… Condemns Multiple Designations Granted Foreign Airlines In Nigeria
Chairman of Air of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, has berated the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr, Akinwunmi Adesina over his comment that African airlines are poorly managed, arguing that such comment is capable of affecting insurance premiums paid by the continent’s airlines.
This is just as he decried the excessive charges and taxes imposed on African airlines by the continent’s governments and organisations.
Onyema contended that Adesina was ill-informed about the states of the airlines on the continent.
The Air Peace boss said this while speaking with aviation correspondents in Abuja at the just concluded World Aviation Forum (WAF) organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Adesina while presenting a paper at the forum alleged that African airlines were poorly maintained, Onyema, said he disagreed with the AfDB’s President position.
He emphasised that the continent’s carriers especially airlines in Nigeria were over-regulated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and insisted they could compete with any airline in the world.
The Air Peace boss argued that Adesina’s comment is capable of affecting insurance premiums paid by African airlines, which he said were having negative impacts on their performances and financial resources.
He posited that on the average, Nigerian airlines pay at least $2.8million for C-Checks of aircraft while their competitors could carry out such maintenances for a mere $500, 000, adding that insurance premiums paid on aircraft is very high compared to what legacy airlines pay around the world.
Onyema insisted that Nigerian airlines were as safe as their counterparts in Europe and America despite the harsh operating environment in the country.
In his words, “I don’t know what President of AfDB is talking about. Let me tell you something, which you know, NCAA in fact is safety-centric maybe because of the accidents of the past. They hound the airlines into doing the right thing. We are over-regulated by NCAA. What they can allow in America and Europe, NCAA will not allow it here. The money we spend to maintain our fleet, the legacy airlines of this world do not spend it. I have never done any C-check that is less than $2.8m, yet all over the world, people do C-Check with $500,000 because some components that will expire in two or three months are still left on the aircraft because they are very close to source of materials unlike here that we have to do everything at a go.”
“I disagree with Adesina on that statement because this is impunity the foreign countries hinge on. They tell you Nigeria is unsafe in order to add more insurance premiums for themselves. What I pay as insurance premiums on one aircraft, the legacy airlines of this world would pay it on four aircraft. They tell you Nigeria is unsafe and yet, all of them still scramble to come here. It is what I call international aero politics, which is very bad,” he added.
Onyema warned that high charges and taxes on operating airlines in the continent would cripple carriers in Africa.
He lamented that operators on the continent especially airlines in Nigeria pay spurious taxes and charges to government agencies, state governments and organisations, compared other parts of the world, where their airlines were given leeway to boost their operations, the reverse was the case in the country.
He stated that most of government officials were unfriendly with private investors in the country, adding that instead of assisting businesses to grow, they contribute to their early pre-mature death by their actions.
According to him, “You will recall that Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) hit Air Peace barely five days after we commenced our operations as a young airline and sealed our premise. They claimed that we didn’t pay customs duties for an aircraft that was yet to arrive Nigeria. That would tell you that civil servants are yet to understand how businesses work. In Nigeria, civil servants are very wicked. Unless the civil service in this country understands that investors must be helped to create jobs and put food on the table of so many people, we will continue to have this issue of insecurity because some people are jobless and they will be opened to social vices.”
“Excess taxation is one of the banes of our aviation industry, it’s one of the things that is stunting our growth in this part of the world and except that is addressed, nothing will happen. But, in order to address that, the Federal Government set up a tax force in which I am a member to look into the issue,” he added.
Onyema also condemned multiple designations granted foreign airlines in Nigeria, stressing that this was affecting the finances of the local airlines.
He also warned against quick implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) of 1999 by the Nigerian Government, emphasising that Nigeria had a lot to lose in the policy than any other African country.
He further said if it was allowed to scale through, the country’s carriers would be the loser on the long run.
No fewer than 23 of the 54 continent’s governments had signed the YD agreement while more are expected to do so soon.