An industry expert, Pekun Sowole, aviation lawyer at JurisLaw Legal Practitioners, has attributed the suspension of the proposed national carrier to some “untruths” in the proposal to investors.
The suspension comes barely two months of the carrier’s unveiling.
At the time of launch, critics were wary of the project, arguing that Nigeria cannot afford it at this time; they also said the financial crisis that engulfed the defunct Nigeria Airways had not been resolved more than a decade after the national career stopped operations.
In a monitored chat with CNBC, Sowole said that the Nigeria Air project proposal was laced with so many discrepancies that would have put off interested investors.
Sowole said, “there was no way it would have worked, if you look at that proposal, as far as I was concerned, you will see that there were some untruth in the proposal. For example they said Nigeria did not have any significant or viable airline, when you have an airline like Air Peace with about 30 aircrafts, Aero Contractors, Arik, if you put them together, you have about 60 aircrafts operating in the country, so when you come and say that there is no viable airline in the country, you are trying to sell untruth to the investors.
And of course, no investor is going to come in without doing its own due diligence, so when they realised that there is a lot of aircraft already operating here, they would ask does this make sense?
Another thing they said was that this airline will make profit in 5 years, there is no way on earth that that would happen, so there is no investor that would have said, “Okay let me go in and invest.”, he added.
Sowole thus advised the federal government to create an enabling environment instead of taking up a project of owning a national carrier because of its costs, before calling for the need for transparency and accountability in the aviation sector.
“We really do not need a national carrier, but the government can create an enabling environment, they should look at their policies, infrastructures, taxes and whatever assistance they can give to the carriers operating currently, not pumping funds into the sector by establishing a national carrier which won’t work
“Infrastructural development is key, Nigeria has always paid lip service to make Nigeria the business hub of Africa. However, Ghana is making good strides; they recently opened terminal 7, which is extremely impressive. Look at our renovation of MMA2, it is a total waste, the terminal is already collapsing and it is still under 5 years.
“So we need to rethink what we do, tell ourselves the truth and stamp out corruption in every sector, most especially the aviation sector. You cannot believe that nobody can say how much was spent in renovating the international airport; everything in Nigeria seems shrouded in some level of secrecy,” he said.