Some travels and tours operators in Lagos have commended the Federal Government’s initiative to launch a new national carrier: Nigeria Air-billed to start operations in December.
The operators said in separate interviews in Lagos that the initiative was a dream come through.
The stakeholders also said that the coming of Nigeria Air into the aviation sector would make a bold statement for the country on the global stage.
They, however, expressed reservations on the government’s non-involvement of major stakeholders in decision-making over the new national carrier.
Mr Olugbenga Adebayo, the Managing Director of Gadeshire Travels and Tours, expressed his excitement over the unveiling of the logo of the new national carrier in London last week.
Adebayo, however, advised the government to involve relevant and experienced stakeholders in the sector in every planning process for a sustainable operation.
He said that the successful implementation of the project would further restore confidence of the international community to Nigeria and the practitioners.
“We want the Federal Government to carry some of the stakeholders in the aviation and travels sectors along in its planning process to have a formidable national carrier.
“These are people who have been in the industry for years and can render useful advice on the way forward for the industry.
“We are happy with the development but it should not be done in secrecy; the government should ensure utmost transparency and we promise to support every project of the government,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Yomi Jones, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Six Continent Travels and Tours, said that the development was what the industry had been waiting for.
Jones, however, complained about how the ownership was shrouded in secrecy.
He said the nation should channel its planning toward a big, strong and reliable national carrier which could stand the test of time in global aviation industry.
“We should not forget in a hurry that we have had national carriers in the past: the Nigeria Airways, Virgin Nigeria, and now, Nigeria Air.
“We must learn from our past mistakes and correct them.
“The Federal Government should make it a project that will involve relevant and tested stakeholders because the government will gain some meaningful contributions from them,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Olubunmi Oshidero, the Managing Director of Boomtrust Travels and Tours, said the development was a laudable.
Oshidero said that government’s decision to go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement in setting up the airline was the way to go in modern aviation management.
“Although countries like South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Morocco and Ethiopia were sole owners of their national carriers. Nigerian terrain is different. The PPP agreement is a better plan to ensure the national carrier stands the test of time.
“If government and private investors invest in the airline; all the stakeholders will protect their interests and ensure that the business yields profits.
“The airline cannot be properly managed if it is solely owned and controlled by the government,’’ he said.
Oshidero called for a good maintenance culture after the airline would have been successfully established.
Also, a stakeholder who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the government should have made plans leading to the formation of the national carrier open by involving major stakeholders.
The stakeholder said that the government should have made the identities of those that would own 95 per cent equity shares in the national carrier known to the public.
The stakeholder said that would have shown government’s transparency in the process.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, had unveiled the name and logo of the airline at the Farnborough Air Show last Wednesday in London.
The minister said at the function that the airline would be primarily owned and managed by a group of private investors.
Sirika said that the Federal Government would control only five per cent equity shares in the new national carrier. (NAN)