Assisting Airlines To Gain Altitude – Seyi Fasugba

Editorial

The story of domestic airline operators is
dominated with frustrations in spite of
perceived prosperity often identified with
this sector not only in Nigeria but glob-
ally. No investor will ever be encouraged listening
to the stories of others either still in operation
now or may have been liquidated.
The aviation sector of the economy has
one of the biggest potential to effectively propel
other businesses with its multiplier effects on
other sectors just as has been the case in other
countries of the world. In most cases, whereas
there were sweet stories to tell of exploits of
operators within aviation in other economies,
it is a totally different story in this part of the
world. For instance airlines such as the British
Airways, KLM, Lufthansa have become global
brands not to be ignored due to consistency and
safety record.
In the United States private airlines such
as United, Delta and many others are good
examples of the success of individual initiatives
in a thriving economy. Many other countries are
today following this direction rather than waiting
for government to sustain their operations.
Going down the memory lane, we have
on record a greater number of organisations
that have gone underground than those still in
operation. Even the national carrier, The Nigerian
Airways that used to be the pride of the nation
could not survive the demonic operational environment,
before
it was
liquidated
and never
to

surface
again.
Going by
the experiences
of
those

who
have
passed
through
the hard
realities
of

that
sector,
the efforts
expended
to
get
the

airlines
started
are
more
often
not
rewarded

before
the threatening
factors
forced
them to

go
underground.
There is no doubt that if over 40 or more
airlines that have been liquidated are still flying
today to compete either domestically or internationally,
the boom within the sector
would
have

been
infectious
and the economy
better
for
it.

But
sadly,
that
has not
been the case
over
the

years.
The reason for this epileptic nature of aviation
operation
is traceable
to
the inconsistencies

of
policies and obsolete
laws
which are
rather

killing the airlines than providing an enabling
environment for the business to thrive. Unlike
what obtains in other places where government
policies assist operators to retain their profit
within the economy, here, the policy direction of
government has never been consistent with the
realities of what triggers efficiency and productivity
in other
countries.
Think of the most recent injection of fund to
the sector in the name of aviation intervention
fund in which over N80bn was released to assist
some airlines to meet their obligations and come
alive. The bulk of the money was embezzled,
some of the airlines are today liquidated, the
workers benefitted nothing but those who
collected the money are enjoying their loot while
the industry continues to groan.
What the sector needs now
is aggressive development of
infrastructures that will assist airline
operators to retain part of their
profits if not all, at home
Meanwhile in a more development oriented
economy, such intervention would have been
done in a way that it would have taken care of
a huge burden on the sector by government
investing that sum, or even more in getting a
technical partner willing to establish a plant for
the manufacturing of some aircraft components
and parts that will breathe life into the industry.
This should not be seen as an African problem
but purely Nigerian syndrome. There are many
African countries whose economies are not as
buoyant as Nigeria

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