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MMIA Lagos

Non-investment in new aircrafts bane of Nigerian airlines—former Virgin Nigeria chief

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Retired pilot and former Managing Director of the defunct Virgin Nigeria, Capt Dapo Olumide, has given fresh insight on why Nigerian carriers fail within a short time of launch, saying apart from issues of corporate governance, they hardly invest in new aircrafts to stay afloat.
In an interview, he revealed “What is killing local airlines include cost of maintaining old aircrafts but new crafts are cheaper in terms of maintenance costs and associated logistics”.
Continuing, he averred that “Globally for instance, airlines are replacing old aircraft with newer ones that are fuel efficient. The world no longer uses old aircraft but dump them on developing countries. This is because when you operate an old aircraft, your cost of maintenance rises.”
He argued further that “For airlines to survive, operators needed to also invest more in manpower development; explore international windows for aircraft financing by looking at 20-year financing model for instance; explore export credit agencies’ guaranteed loans; and take advantage of open skies agreements, which stimulate competition.
Olumide’s revelations on adversaries of local airlines were corroborated by the recent position of the Managing Director of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Kuru, who decried that Nigerian aviation industry was suffering from airlines burdened with debts, under administration or in the borderline of collapse.
According to him, “The only times airlines are viable in Nigeria are usually at the point of take-off. Indeed, we have become so used to failure that no matter how well an airline seems to be running, we are economical with praise, because we do not know if it is just another bubble.”

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