There has been a call a by the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), for the return of a national air carrier.
The call was made at the 15th national delegates conference of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), an affiliate of the NLC.
While speaking at the event, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba said a national carrier would create jobs for teeming Nigerian aircraft pilots and engineers as well as those undergoing training in different parts of the world.
He said: “We call for the return of our national air carrier. We also call for the creation of the enabling space for the emergence of more airlines and helicopter companies. This will create the much-needed jobs for the teeming hundreds of Nigerian aircraft pilots and engineers already trained and those undergoing training in different parts of the world.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said: “For some reasons, we have not got it right so far. I personally believe that we should look at the issue of a national airline. If we have a national airline, a lot of people that come out of school today will have an opportunity to train properly… It will provide jobs for our people.
“To complain about capital flight is not looking at the key problem. The key problem is that we must have our own airline that will be able to provide transportation for us and keep the money here. We should all give it a good thought.
“Ethiopia largely depends on Ethiopian Air. Rwanda recently became a hot spot; even some Nigerian pilots went there.”
“In the 1980s, Nigeria provided pilots for Saudi Air and for other airlines in the Middle East. So, not only have we trained people – and we are allowing them to go out and you will think that they will bring the money back – but they usually don’t.”
In 2018, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had announced at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom (UK) plans to float a new national carrier called Nigeria Air but the project was suspended two weeks later.