…Mixed reactions trail unveiling of new national carrier

Mixed reactions have trailed the unveiling of Nigeria Air as the new national carrier yesterday.

The new carrier as well as logo were unveiled in London by Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.

President of Aviation Roundtable (ART), Elder Gbenga Olowo, said though the name is great, his concern is the model to be adopted in operating it. 

“Nigeria Air sounds great.  I am more concerned about the modus operandi for a formidable and competitive airline.  I eagerly await such details,” he said while speaking with our correspondent.

He said the transaction advisers should roll out the details for the implementation of the national carrier.

“I wonder whose decision it is on choice of aircraft types, lease/purchase of aircraft, acquisition, partnership, etc without board and management. If the company were to be 100% private sector, I hope government is not already placing cart before the horse by already taking such decisions,” he noted.

An aviation analyst, Group Capt. Ojikutu, said the route being followed by the proponents of the national carrier was not sufficiently advised.

According to him, a competitive national carrier cannot be built by partnering with other national airlines that are supposedly competitors in similar business.

He said: “I think whoever is planning this route for the new national carrier should go into records and see what happened along same routes between Nigerian Airways and KLM; Nigerian Airways and South African Airways and Nigerian Airways and Virgin Atlantic. 

“You can’t go into the same business with your competitor(s) as partners. When we talk of foreign technical partner investors, we are not talking of competitors as partners. I am talking of the Gulf Air model that gave birth to the Emirates, Qatar and Etihad. 

“I don’t see what we are about doing in foreign land as a birth of a national carrier but a replica of Virgin Nigeria or better still another Nigerian Airways rebirth as a government airline except it is a private airline, not national”.

Coordinator of Bring Back Nigeria Airways and former staff of then Nigeria Airways, Capt. Ibrahim Yunusa, said, “The government should make sure they pay the former Nigeria Airways staff their outstanding pensions and entitlements before the takeoff date.”

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