By Sade Williams
As more reactions trail the takeover of Arik Air by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), a non-governmental organization, Aviation Round Table (ART) has said that harsh operating environment where Nigerian airlines operate is the bane of their operations.
Gbenga Olowo, president of the organization said even the yet to be established national carrier ‘will fail’ if the operating environment does not change.
Olowo said, even though ART saw the AMCON intervention coming, other airlines such as Virgin Nigeria, Okada Air, Kabo air and others failed because in the same environment.
“We all saw it coming to Arik and may be others more than a year ago. ART quarter one breakfast meeting in 2016 , appraised the very poor situation of Nigerian Airlines and rose with unambiguous communique on the way forward. This is still available on artng.org.
“Treating the Arik case in isolation will be to trivialise the magnitude of the problem. Going back to almost 40 years, Government airline like Nigeria Airways failed, pioneer private airlines Okada, Kabo, etc failed, third generation airlines ADC, Bellview, Chanchangi, Sosoliso, etc failed, 4th generation Richard Branson Virgin Nigeria, Air Nigeria, etc failed, believe me, given the same Nigeria operating environment, the National carrier yet to be born will fail.
“Essentially it is a Nigerian business environmental factor, business and Government are permanently at variance, cost is permanently higher than Income. Tax overburden and infrastructural deficit erodes revenue steadily. Gazetted policies that will enhance performance are not implemented. Credit is not in the Nigeria business dictionary. Yet Aviation is prone to the most minute situation in the economy ranging from weather to politics, reckless holidays, etc’, he said.
Olowo, who said that lack of will to do things right by leadership is the undoing of Nigeria and Nigerian Airlines and businesses, added that for instance, ‘it is on record that for Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola delivered in Lagos; but alas!, what has happened to power in two years that he secured federal might?
“That is the real issue. It is a fundamental problem that needs surgical operation”, he added.