The dream of any domestic airlines to succeed in Nigeria may be a tall dream as they all lacked major components such as critical mass in terms of size, good management, right fleet and good network.
This was the position of the Nigerian born international aircraft financing expert, Mr Nick Fadugba while speaking at the 2019 annual seminar organised by aviation journalists in Lagos.
According to Fadugba, though Nigeria has the market but it is very hard for the airlines to succeed. We are very fortunate but the fact is that our airlines are at the moment not of the size that can compete effectively against the big airlines coming into Nigeria.”
While declaring that Nigeria’s aviation sector was not where it should be today despite its resources, the international analyst stated “I believe we are not where we should be today, given our resources. There is no market in Africa that is comparable to Nigeria. Whether you are a market lady or a board chairman, we travel and a nation of traders. Many foreign airlines are coming into Nigeria making good profit and yet most Nigerian airlines to the best of my knowledge are not making a lot of money. In fact some are quite poor financially, so we need to do better.
“You know the international aviation industry has changed dramatically since the days of Nigeria Airways, today no airline can succeed working alone. And therefore I want to once again appeal to airlines in Nigeria to come together, to work together in operations, training, maintenance, we need to partner. Even if we don’t merge we need to partner with one another. The average fleet size in Nigeria is about maximum 10 aircraft and yet we are competing with British Airways that has over 400 aircraft. Delta airlines have over 500 aircraft even Ethiopian airlines has a 110 aircraft.”
He seized the opportunity to call for a review of the federal government’s international policies particularly as it affects the lopsided Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) which he compared to oil block.
“It has economic value; we cannot just be giving them away free of charge. These days’ people don’t like to pay for BASAs but the fact is until we have a stronger airline industry in Nigeria, we need to review the setup because all airlines in Nigeria including Air Peace are complaining that the system today is unfair, it is not in our interest.”