African aviation expert Nick Fadugba has advised the Nigerian government to consolidate rather than proliferate airlines in the country, amid reports that the government is planning to float a new national carrier.
”I hear the Federal Government (FG) is planning for new airlines, I would encourage the FG to exercise caution because all over the world airlines are consolidating,” Mr. Fadugba, who is the Chief Executive Officer of African Aviation Services Ltd., told airport correspondents in Nigeria’s economic capital of Lagos Sunday.
”China, with a population of over one billion people, has four major airlines, so if the FG is bringing in or floating new airlines how will they all survive,” PANA quoted him as saying.
Mr. Fadugba, who also briefly served as the Secretary-General of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), said the government must focus its attention on bringing in the few strong, profitable, affordable and safe airlines, rather than having many.
He said apart from Arik Air, Nigeria’s biggest domestic airlines, the country does not have any large, strong airline, adding that most of the country’s airlines are weak, underfunded and undercapitalised.
According to Mr. Joe Obi, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Aviation, the proposed national carrier would be wholly privately-owned and would operate in partnership with a reputable international airline.
Nigeria’s previous attempt to float a national airline failed, after its partnership with Virgin Atlantic, that let to the establishment of Virgin Nigeria, collapsed.
Former national carrier Nigeria Airways, which was founded in 1958 and was wholly-owned by the Nigerian government, ceased operations in 2003 and was later liquidated.