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While Dada insisted that nothing was wrong with the roadmap, he, however, challenged the opponents of the project to interact with the players, saying that aviation does not operate in isolation.
His words: “You cannot say you want to develop a hub; you want airlines from Europe and South America to come and pick up fuel in Nigeria when we do not even have fuel. Our refineries are not working. So, we need to talk across sectors. We need to find out what the distortions in other sectors are.
“The finance sector is in trouble, they cannot finance any equipment that you, as an airline, would want to buy. If you want to borrow money you will need to bring land from your grandfathers, hectares of land that will not amount to the money you will use to buy an aircraft.
“So, as a note of caution, when we are working on a plan, we need to talk outside just aviation. We are just a service industry, providing services to other people, but we cannot exist in isolation.”
He also cautioned those canvassing the idea of mergers in the industry to be careful so as not to “forcefully” merge two weak airlines in bid to pay lip service to mergers.
He said, “Consolidation should mean bringing strength. We cannot take weakness and add it to weakness and say people should go and merge. It doesn’t make sense we need to look at what the real problems are and not to begin to diagnose symptoms.”
He said there were problems that were affecting airlines in the industry, buttressing that if people cannot afford to fly there would be no airline industry to discuss.
“There is a belief that Nigerian airlines do not have enough airplanes; airplanes to carry who? We have a total passenger movement of 14 million on the international and domestic routes, how many planes are going to carry 14 million people and to where?
“We do not fly at night, people are afraid. Yola is closed at 6pm, Maiduguri has a curfew, Kano has been shut down for three months, Kaduna the same thing and we are saying airlines are doing nothing?
“I fly an average of 2,000 flight hours in a year, my colleague that flies the same kind of airplane outside this country does an average of 4,000 hours because they will fly at night and early mornings, but we cannot do the same here.”Share