Aviation industry experts have unanimously revealed why Nigeria’s new national career is yet to take-off. This, according to a report, was disclosed at the 4th quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting organised by the Aviation Safety Roundtable Initiative (ASRTI) in Lagos.
The experts lamented the lack of proper consultation by the Federal Government with knowledgeable Aviation industry experts led to the suspension of Nigeria Air’s take-off.
Director of Studies, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies, Prof. Anthony Kila lamented that Nigeria Air was embarked upon without due consultation and communication with people that matter. He said
“There was no industry engagement and when a project is done like that it is bound to die. Nigeria should avoid this kind of failure.”
“Nigeria Air was conceived on PowerPoint, shared on Adobe and died on Twitter. The project lacked the fundamentals on strategic management, they embarked on a project without consideration of the status quo, the effects on operators and looking into the future, the project was embarked on without consultation without those that matter in the industry.”
Former Director General, Institute of Directors, IOD, Victor Adenrele Banjo said the Nigeria Air project was a deceit as it never had a visible structure and was shrouded in secrecy.
“The 0% control of government is not evident, no visible structure. The idea was not to operate an airline but achieve other motives not disclosed, no wonder, it was a premature leading to stillborn”, Banjo said.
Recall that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika had announced that the Federal Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus in respect of the establishment of a national airline
In August 2015, the Federal Government set up a 13-member committee to consult with international partners for the establishment of a national airline for Nigeria. In the same year, the committee submitted its report to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hajiya Binta Bello.
The airline’s predecessor Nigeria Airways was founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation, WAAC. It held the name WAAC Nigeria until 1971, when it was rebranded. It stopped operations in 2003. The defunct airline is owing pensioners arrears running into billions of Naira.
The government then went into partnership with Virgin Atlantic, to establish Virgin Nigeria. Virgin Atlantic, however, sold its stake after several disagreements with the Ministry of Aviation, and an alleged breach of an agreement by the Federal Government to operate from the international terminal.
Jimoh Ibrahim, who bought Virgin Atlantic’s stake shut down the airline shortly after, due to what he termed sabotage.