Business Hilights

Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

SAA 20 years

Nigeria Air: SAA gives FG tips on national carrier at 20th anniversary

Ad 2
Ad 3

Barely three months after the Federal Government through the Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika announced the surprising suspension of activities to launch Nigeria Air, the South African Airways (SAA) has projected a return to profitability in the next three years.
The continental aviation giant during its 20th anniversary recently in Lagos, rolled out strategic consolidation plan, saying main strategy is hinged on revenue optimisation, procurement, as well as re-engineering the technical Organisation (South African Technic) to make it better, more efficient and able to support more airlines apart from those of SAA.
Nigerian industry analysts who attended the ceremony said the way and manner SAA is being run remains a good lesson for Nigerian government officials. They argued that if the government had carried Nigerian industry stakeholders along, Nigeria Air would have by now, been a reality.
There had been verbal fireworks between Sirika and Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Trouble started between the ministers when the later opened up at a function in Lagos that the Federal Government decided to suspend the scheme when it observed that investors who had earlier given green lights are no more forthcoming.
The revelation forced Aviation minister to come out of his shelves and told Nigerians that the investors are still interested, rather government would resume the build up very soon which several pundits say may not be realized again in the life of this government even though it formed key part of their electoral promises in 2015.
However, in his remarks, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Vuyani Jarana, that the airlines, over the years, did not lack requisite strategy, but what was missing is execution of the said strategies, to which the management is redressing now.
He said: “There had been a number of initiatives and strategies developed in SAA to turn it around. Any business, if it is to succeed, has to be able to carry its operations and rely less on shareholders and capital injection.
“Of course, there is nothing wrong with shareholders’ injection and capital calls. It is normal in any business, but the case of SAA has been slightly different. So, we have come in as new management and the big focus has been turning around SAA.
“The difference with the current board, is the willingness to execute the strategies, really rolling up your sleeves and getting things done. Of course, you tweak your strategy; the biggest dimension of strategy is timing.”
Regional General Manager, Africa, Middle East and Indian Ocean island, Aaron Munetsi, said SAA’s 20 years foray into Nigeria has been a mix of all but that the airline has airlifted over three million passengers since then.
According to him, there are some challenges that made the business difficult to run, not just in Nigeria but Africa generally, citing the high cost of aviation fuel as a prime example.
It will be recalled that operations between Johannesburg and Lagos commenced on December 4, 1998, as SAA launched its first flight into Nigeria soon after the BASA between the two countries had been sealed.

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.