Bail-out: Airlines seek involvement in aircraft acquisition

Domestic airlines in the country have canvassed their full involvement in the plan by the Federal Government to acquire 30 aircraft for local operators.

The Ministry of Aviation had said the government was ready to bail out the aviation industry by acquiring 30 new aircraft for domestic airlines to enable them re-fleet.

The Assistant General Secretary, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammed Tukur, said at a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday that the plan was laudable, but there was the need for the ministry to involve the airline operators in the project since they would become the ultimate users of the aircraft.

Tukur said, “We are the ones who are going to use the aircraft. We know the type of aircraft we want. The government needs to involve us fully in the entire process. We have had several meetings with the government on this matter, but I think we deserve to be involved more in the entire process more than they way they are currently doing it.

“The idea is good but the minister needs to repackage it in a better way that the intended purpose will be achieved. The ministry should sit down and re-organise the programme. Is government trying to set up a leasing company for the proposed aircraft or not? This is one of the things we need to know. And then, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority needs to be fully involved.”

The AON also said the ministry should always come out to inform the public of any policy it had for the sector, especially as regards the airlines, and not through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, as being currently done.

Tukur also gave an assurance that airfares would soon come down in the country, adding that the return of some airlines, including Dana Air, had set the pace for healthy competition among operators.

He, however, said some unscrupulous airline operators were not happy with the return of the airlines, alleging that they had engaged in “unhealthy practices to sabotage the flight operations of other operators.”

The development, he said, informed the by AON on the Federal Government to beef up security around airlines and aircraft in the country.

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