Aviation Group Urges SEC, AMCON To Midwife Airlines’ Merger | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Aviation Group Urges SEC, AMCON To Midwife Airlines’ Merger

Posted: Jul 12, 2015 at 12:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Aviation Round Table (ART), has called on the Director of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to bring together the assets of the domestic airlines and midwife them into two or three stronger airlines.

ART is an aviation pressure group whose duty is to pursue the development enhancement of the aviation industry.

This is just as the group declared that for the country’s aviation industry to move forward and achieve its set goals, it must have a fully autonomous and stronger Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The ART made its position through its newly elected President Mr Gbenga Olowu, while speaking to journalists on the state of the Aviation Ministry in Lagos at the weekend.

Speaking on the bail out of some airlines, the president accused the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) of misplaced priorities in the bail out and takeover of some airlines in the industry, adding that the sincerity of AMCON in the issue was in doubt.

He maintained that the survival of any airline in the sector did not depend on the payment of debts owned financial institutions by airlines, but funds to increase their business and gradually pay off their debts to the banks.

Olowo stressed that rather than bail out the airlines, the government could channel such funds to the development of the agencies in the sector to better provide better facilities and equipment to the users.

According to him, “How has AMCON been disbursing the funds? Is it to private pockets? We didn’t see intervention of government in that direction as sincere. AMCON has missed it because the airlines want to run and operate to pay its debts. We need two to three strong Nigerian airlines. The Director of Securities and Exchange Commissions(SEC), and AMCON should sit down and bring the assets of these airlines together and midwife how we can have only two to three airlines”.

The ART boss attributed the current state of the aviation sector to weak regulatory body; NCAA, which according to him has not been carrying out its oversight function on the industry effectively.

He stated that apart from the random checks on aircraft at the tarmac, the economic regulation department of NCAA had failed to live up to expectations of stakeholders and professionals over the years.

Olowo posited that a stronger, viable and independent NCAA would be able to gather the industry’s airlines together and seek a way rescuing them out of their present sorry state.

The ART president advocated for the merger of domestic airlines to two or three airlines to make them stronger, competitive, profitable and more reliable in their operations.

According to him,   “The Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, should be the government of aviation like we have it in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in the United States, which is the only government agency on transport”.

He continued, “Our NCAA is not there yet. The zeal of NCAA ended when the former Director General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren left the agency. The current Director-General is more or  less a civil servant. We need a vibrant CAA that will be able to take the sector to higher level. It is a shame that we don’t have any airline in this country. When we go outside the country for aviation conferences, people ask us ‘where are your airlines?’ We need a stronger NCAA for us to move forward”.

Also speaking , the Secretary General, ART, Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu(rtd) called on the President Buhari led administration scrap the Aviation Ministry, alleging that it had done more harms to the system than good.

Ojikutu argued that instead of contributing to the development of the sector, the ministry had created more crises for the sector, calling on the Federal Government to merge the ministry with Ministry of Transport.