Airline Operator Warns FG Against Venturing Into National Carrier Business | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Airline Operator Warns FG Against Venturing Into National Carrier Business

Posted: Jun 12, 2015 at 12:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Abel Orukpe – Lagos


The chairman of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema, has advised the Federal Government not to venture into investing either in airlines or national carrier but should instead, empower flag carriers in the country as it have no business establishing a national carrier for the country.

Onyema, who stated this in an interview in Lagos, said that   government should divest from the aviation sector, as it had no business setting up a national carrier.

He described the clamour for a new national carrier in some quarters as selfish, adding that setting up a national carrier would be a huge financial drain on government’s purse.

According to him, “Government should divest interest from aviation and create the enabling environment for private sector to drive employment and the development of the industry. A lot of people are talking about national carrier. There is nothing like national carrier. What we need are flag carriers. Not national carrier.”

He argued that in the private sector, it was difficult to monitor the fraudulent activities in organisations and that monitoring financial leakages in the aviation industry  is even worse in the public sector.

“We as private investors, it is difficult to monitor the fraud in our organisations, the avenues for financial leakages is very many in aviation, private investors who are consistently watching our investment , fraudsters still beat us to it not to talk of inviting government to come and run an airline , it will be a huge capital drain . It will be an avenue for people to feed fat. Government should not even consider that. What government should do is to empower flag carriers.” He said

The Air Peace boss said that in the US, Britain and other parts of Europe, the concept of national carrier was no more fashionable and attractive.

He lampooned those calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to revive the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), adding that the liquidated NAL was a drain pipe on government scarce resources.

In his words, “Those calling on Buhari to revive the liquidated national carrier; Nigeria Airways, are not honest to themselves when they misinform the public that  Nigeria Airways was the best thing that ever happened to Nigerian aviation. It is a lie. I humbly disagree with them; Nigeria Airways was a monumental drain to this country.”

He insisted that the liquidation of Nigeria Airways was an excellent decision taken by the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, calling on the Buhari led government never to think of running an airline.

“What government should do is to create an enabling environment for private sector airlines to thrive. Government should not even consider this proposal for national carrier. It is no more fashionable for government to float a national carrier.” He advised.