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MMIA, Lagos

Forced merger’ll boost operations of Nigerian airlines—Experts

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Current realities in global aviation industry and Nigerian experiences in recent past have called for mergers and acquisitions that will raise the fleet in airlines and shrink number of operators.

Already experts under the aegis of Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), a think-tank group, have agreed that the current minimum of two-aircraft requirement for Air Operating Certificate (AOC) is obsolete and cannot encourage growth.

Rather, they canvassed for forced merger of struggling one so as to become stronger for competition on the regional and international fronts.

A communiqué issued at the end of the summit in Lagos recommended that operating local airlines should either merge or partner and pull resources together to establish a local maintenance hangar as a way of minimizing their aircraft maintenance cost.

According to the group, “For Nigerian airlines to attract funding facilities from financiers and institutions that are predominantly based outside Nigeria, our airlines must be within these parameters; viability, capacity and the potentials to earn more revenue from commercial agreements in view of the weakness of the local currency.

“Therefore, we urgently call for regulatory consolidation process that increases the minimum fleet for AOC issuance for scheduled passenger airline operations from two aircraft to 20,” the statement read in part.

The white paper endorsed by the President, Gbenga Olowo, averred that it was in the interest of all to have two strong local carriers of 20-aircraft fleet each than eight struggling airlines with 47 functional aircraft in total.

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