Nigeria may float national carrier, December – Aviation Union President

The Federal Government may float a national carrier by December, the National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, Benjamin Okewu, said on Wednesday.

Mr. Okewu said in Lagos that a Federal Government committee is in place to ensure that Nigeria “has its own national carrier that would serve as a driver in the nation’s aviation industry”.

“We want to start having a national carrier by December that is the target. So, if we can start by January, it is still a good development,’’ he said.

The ATSSSAN President noted that the process of creating the national carrier would have been completed long ago but for the June 3 Dana plane crash that slowed it down.

“There is a committee on establishing a national carrier and incidentally, the joint trade union forum is representing the unions there.

“I think that the Dana crash slowed down the activities of the committee and I am aware that it is now trying to hasten the process– to put finishing touches– to enable it take off latest by December 2012.

He stressed the need for the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for the airlines to succeed.

According to Mr. Okewu, giving out intervention funds by government is counterproductive because most airline operators end up misappropriating the funds, rather than injecting it into the airline business.

“I believe that government should create models to help domestic airlines to grow; this entails forming an airline and giving it to professionals to manage with a very successful business model.

“For instance, the governments created an enabling environment for Singapore and Emirate Airlines to survive.

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