Nick Fadugba, the former General Secretary of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), has lamented the depletion of Nigeria’s total fleet to just 40 aircraft.
Speaking with our correspondent in an interview in Lagos, Mr. Fadugba said the totality of the nation’s airlines’ fleet was just about 40 percent of the East African carrier, Ethiopian Airlines.
He said that British Airways, through its International Airlines Group (IAG), has over 600 aircraft in its fleet while Delta Air Lines equally has over 600 aircraft.
Mr. Fadugba attributed Nigerian airlines’ negative growth to ineptitude and ego on the part of the airline managers, stressing that in order for the country’s aviation industry to rival their foreign counterparts, Nigerian airlines need to collaborate with one another.
“We have approximately 40 aircraft as a country in the fleet of all our airlines. Ethiopian Airlines has 90 plus aircraft. Not only that, in the next few years, they will operate about 130 aircraft.
“So, you see Ethiopian Airlines is thinking on a bigger scale. You could say that in Ethiopia they have a monopoly, which is very different from Nigeria. And in Nigeria, of course, we have a very vibrant economy, which is not a monopoly. We have many airlines, which is a good thing in a way, but the problem is that none of them, to the best of my knowledge, is really profitable.
“Nigerian airlines need to work together. They can compete, for example, on Lagos-Abuja or Abuja-Port Harcourt. They can work together on training, on maintenance, on spares pooling, on spare parts purchasing. There are many areas where they can work together. They can still compete. It is done in the rest of the world.
“More importantly, I would like to see Nigerian airlines come together. Ego is a big factor. It is a negative factor in the airline industry in Nigeria. It is pulling us back. If you look around the world, British Airways is coming to Nigeria. Collectively within the IAG Group, they have about 600 and more aircraft. Delta Air Lines has over 600 plus aircraft. Or the Emirates, you can imagine their huge planes. And yet, we have the market in terms of passengers,” Mr. Fadugba said.
He further called on the Nigerian government to take urgent action to rescue the aviation industry from total collapse.
Mr. Fadugba also decried that infrastructure in the country was in abeyance, stressing that Nigeria, as the largest country in terms of population on the continent, needed to aspire to operate at the global stage.
He urged the government to adopt the Singapore and Dubai aviation models, the two countries, he said, harnessed aviation as a tool for economic development.
Mr. Fadugba added that Nigeria, at the moment, has more airlines than necessary.