By Daniel Eteghe
Former Marketing Manager of the liquidated Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), Mr. Akinnola Ojo has said the Federal Government should have privatised the national carrier in partnership with foreign airlines instead of outright liquidation.
Speaking to Vanguard during an interview, he said that the government could have generated a lot of revenue from the carrier by converting the maintenance and engineering departments to a full maintenance company in order to offset some of the huge debt accumulated by the airline.
According to him: “First and foremost, the Maintenance and Engineering departments of the liquidated Nigeria Airways should have been made to stand as a maintenance company. Thereafter, the government should have proceeded with the process of restructuring and privatisation of what remains of the airline.
“Government as the owner should have taken over part of the assets and all the liabilities. The airline could have been privatised in partnership with an airline from Asia and retain the name,” he stressed.
Mr. Ojo, however, noted that with the privatisation of the airline, the government could have avoided paying the staff’s entitlements as they were seen as civil servants in the country.
Asked if Nigeria Airways was privatised by the Federal Government, the former Marketing Manager stressed that Nigeria Airways was liquidated adding that what the Federal Government did that brought about Air Nigeria was a partnership with Virgin Atlantic.
“The Federal Government did not privatise Nigeria Airways, rather, the airline was liquidated.
What the government had with Virgin Atlantic to form Virgin Nigeria then was a partnership arrangement.
On this again, we should ask ourselves, was it ideal to form an airline in partnership with a carrier that maintains strong presence in our market? Virgin Atlantic could not have developed products that would compete with its own; the only result most likely was what we got,” he added.