Only 45 years ago Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and the U.A.E wanted a bit of this Nigerian “Magic”. 1,500 destinations across the globe? That’s clearly a bit of an exaggeration. Actually a lot. Turkish airlines with one of the largest fleet in the world only flies to 302 destinations. Nigeria airways had only 30 aircraft’s in its fleet so it makes us wonder how the 1,500 destinations was possible. The entire headline is doubtful but we cannot deny the truth. Nigeria Airways (during its glory days) was our national pride and honor.
Plagued by mis-management, corruption, and over staffing, at the time of closure the airline had debts totaling US$528,000,000 (equivalent to $702,408,104 in 2017), a poor safety record, and its operative fleet comprised a single aircraft flying domestic routes as well as two leased aircraft operating the international network.
The news of a National Carrier gave us mixed feelings. We were excited. There are so many advantages of having a National Carrier. There’s the job creation for citizens, it boasts tourism and there’s the pride attached to having a national carrier. It’s kinda like having your national football team.
African countries love their airlines just as they love their soccer teams – Bridget Ssamula
There’s also the flip side to having a Nigerian national carrier. NOTHING WORKS! And that’s putting it lightly. There’s the defense that the national carrier will be privately owned but lets take a second to evaluate privately owned companies/establishments in Nigeria. The successful ones often characterized by two things; friends of the Government and/ or micromanaging all affairs of the company.
Here’s a summary of what the Minister of State for Aviation said in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, disclosed that the country is ready to have her own National Carrier soon. It will be fully operated by the private sector. This was discussed at the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
We are very close to having a national carrier at the moment. We are at the stage of transaction services. We have affiliations which will be dealt with. I hope within this week, you will hear from me on where we are. It will be soon.
At the same session, The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), an initiative of the African Union was officially launched. The launch of SAATM is expected to spur more opportunities to promote trade, cross-border investments in the production and service industries including tourism, resulting in the creation of an additional 300,000 direct and two million indirect jobs.
80% of airtravel from #Africa to the world is controlled by non-African Airlines. To fix this, today, 23 countries, including #Nigeria, South Africa, #Ethiopia & #Kenya, agreed to a “Single African Air Transport Market”. It’s about time. We have been discussing this for years. pic.twitter.com/Yi6JtMSIHO
— Zemedeneh Negatu (@Zemedeneh) January 29, 2018
The 25% lower fares and African integration got us giddy with excitement. It’s about time those air fares got cheaper. The current price we pay for traveling within Africa is really steep and this discourages people from exploring the continent.
Not to sound pessimistic, we are excited about the National Carrier news, but highly doubtful. We hope Nigeria proves everyone wrong this time. We’ll like to read from you, do you think the National Carrier will work at this time and is it feasible?