National Carrier’ll Create 19,500 Jobs
By Chinedu Eze
A group of aviation professionals have encouraged the Federal Government to establish the national, saying that besides helping to grow air transport in Nigeria and boosting the image of the country in international circles, it would also create 19, 500 jobs.
The group which was led by the Managing Director of AirGold Aviation, Ifeanyi Okocha, estimated that floating a national carrier would cost about N985 billion.
Okocha, an aeronautic engineer, told Aviation Correspondents in Lagos on Tuesday that his team of aviation professionals have carried out a feasibility study which would soon be submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that the study carried out showed that the aforementioned cost would kick start the project.
He advised that when the carrier was established ,the name would be called ‘Nigeria Airlines’, adding that the proposed carrier by the group will not be managed by civil servants with civil service structure, but professionally by professionals.
Okocha remarked that the civil service mentality was one of the reasons why the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL) was liquidated.
“If Nigeria Airways Limited was managed professionally the national carrier would still be operating till today. But it was run in a civil service manner” he said
He disclosed that as at the time NAL was liquidated, the national carrier had four large maintenance departments, which according to him should have been converted to Maintenance Overhaul and Repair (MRO) facility.
The Engineer regretted that the facility was closed down instead of upgrading the maintenance departments to MRO facility, adding that by doing that the Federal Government was denied the opportunity of generating revenue from maintenance and repair services.
If the upgrade was done it would have benefitted both local and international airlines that operate into the country and by would have been able to carry out major checks like C and D checks in the country.
The managing director of AirGold further explained that the feasibility study the group carried out indicated that the national carrier when established would provide 19,500 jobs and out of that number, 9,000 would be graduates while 8,000 would be aviation professionals, adding that 2,960 would be junior staff, management staff 400, 20 top management staff and 120 expatriates.
The proposed national carrier, he said would also commence flight operations with 48 airplanes, adding that 12 months after it commenced operations the carrier would introduce aeronautic industrial section, which would employ additional 10,000staff, bringing the total employees figure to 29,500.
He said that the group is relying on the Federal Government to fund the project which will be in form of loans, while it directs the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to supervise the project.
“What the Federal Government needed to do is to invite the Minister of Aviation, Finance and the Central Bank Governor to take look at the project.”
On how the money would be repaid by the group if the Federal Government key into the project, Okocha said, “We will pay back within 10 years period and within three years of commencing operations; the carrier will be taken to the Nigeria Stock Exchange”
The group, he said would bring in aircraft manufacturing bases to Nigeria, adding that these bases would be located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Abuja
On why Lagos was left considering the fact that it is the headquarters of aviation in the country, Okocha said that Lagos is congested and that the group wants a place where it can get expanse of land.