Despite the registration of about 150 airlines by the year 2000 by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), only 28 of them survived till 2006.
The early death of indigenous airlines is however attributed to myriads of challenges in the country, including the paucity of foreign exchange for aircraft acquisition, spare parts and training among others.
Dr. Alex Nwuba, President of the Aircraft and Owners Pilots Association of Nigeria (AOPA), stated this on Tuesday in a webinar on ‘Repositioning the Aviation Sector for Revenue Generation and Growth: The Role of The Legislation,’ organised by Messrs Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL).
According to Nwuba, the average lifespan of Nigerian airlines is between five years and 10 years.
Withdrawal of Licenses
Nwuba explained that in 2007 alone, the NCAA withdrew seven air licenses of indigenous airlines, stressing that the sector’s contribution to economic growth was insignificant despite its potential.
Some of the airlines that have shut down operations within the period according to Nwuba include Flash Airline, Kabo Air, Hold Trade Airline, Gas Air, Jambo Express, Chachangi Airline, IRS Airlines, Savannah Airline, Albarka Airline, Intercontinental Airline and Air Mid-West.
Others are HAK Air, EAS Airlines, Nicon Airways, Virgin Nigeria Airline, Air Nigeria, Falcon Air, Sosoliso Airline, Zenith Airline, Barnax Airline, Space World International Airline, Dasab Airline, Fresh Airline, Triax Airline, Bell-View, Freedom Airline, Okada Air, Concord Airline, Associated Airline, Air Taraba United Air Service Aras Airline Ltd and Nigeria Globa.
He also mentioned Nigeria Eagle, Harco Airline, Premier Airline, Al Bashir, Trans-Sahara Airline, ADC Airline, Oriental Airline, Axiom Airline, Forward Air, Slok Air, Das Air and Cargo, Dornier Aviation Nigeria, Al-Dawood, Premium Air Shuttle, Chrome Air Service, Easy Link Aviation, First Nation Airways, Earth Airlines, Afrijet Airlines, Afrimex, Air Vanni, AlHeri Airlines, Arax Airlines, Arab Wings Nigeria, City Link Airlines, Discovery Air, Delta Air Charter, Hamsal Air Services and Emma-Nik Aviation Service.
Solving the Problem
To solve the problem, Nwuba proposed the building of a better airline business by investors, adding that it was also necessary to improve the odds by adopting some of the prudential guidelines in the financial industry today such as corporate governance principles and financial principles.
He added: “Solving the problems in the Nigerian aviation industry is not about infrastructure, even though infrastructure improvements will improve the experience.
“We can improve the odds by adopting some of the prudential guidelines in the financial industry today such as corporate governance principles, financial principles including capital requirements and reserves, and even corporate structures, favouring public over private enterprise structures.
“But in the end, we must recognise that sustenance is maintained by great leadership and teamwork, the pursuit of business excellence, exceeding customer expectations, operating under the ‘Golden Rule’ – treating persons with high respect and courtesy, simplicity and effective communication.”
26 Bird strikes in five months
Also, Mr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace, said that the airline suffered 26 bird strike incidents between February and June 2023.
Onyema decried that the airline suffered an average of five bird strikes monthly, while also losing aircraft engines to some of the incidents.
He added that in a situation where an engine is damaged beyond repair in a bird strike, an engine could cost about $2 million to $3 million, depending on the aircraft type.
Onyema declared that such bird strike incidents disrupt the operations of the airline, maintaining that it was not the duty of airlines to chase birds at the airports.
He said: “Air Peace had 26 bird strikes between February and June this year. In fact, on average, we suffer about five bird strikes every month. There was a day we had two bird strikes. It is not the duty of the airlines to chase birds at the airports.
“If an engine is damaged in the process by the bird, depending on the type of aircraft, repair of the aircraft can cost you between $2 million to $3 million. If it happened to a Boeing 777 aircraft for instance and damaged its engine, it could cost you about $10 million.”
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