The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says Nigerian carriers need to partner with other airlines both within and outside the country to sustain and enhance their operations.
Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, gave the advice on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Mr Adurogboye noted that partnership was vital to the aviation business, adding that most of the big players in the industry had strategic alliances with other airlines.
He also demystified the claim that Nigerian airlines were paying one of the highest aviation charges in the world.
“That is not true. Even in Benin Republic here, the charges that are there, we don’t have half of it. The operators should be sincere because there is no place where they are not paying charges.
“There is no airline anywhere in the world that is not facing challenges. It is the economic challenges that are forcing airlines all over the world to form alliances.
“The British Airways, the Air France, Lufthansa, Delta, and other mega airlines all belong to one alliance or the other because they have discovered that the operating environment is tough.
“So they form alliances and rely on each other. You don’t have to fly to all the routes, but you hand over your passengers to your partners to carry them to their destinations,” Mr Adurogboye said.
According to him, Nigerian airlines have not been able to key into these partnerships despite the encouragement being given to them by the NCAA.
“It was the NCAA that paid N10 million to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) some years back to conduct a gap analysis for five Nigerian carriers so that they will begin to audit them in the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).
“The NCAA used its own resources to make that payment to encourage the airlines to have IOSA Certificates so that they can belong to the IATA Clearing House.
“This will make the foreign airlines to have confidence in their safety and capacity, but there are some other things that they need to do.”
He maintained that Nigerian airlines must work on their passenger customer care and route integrity.
“No British Airways, No Air France nor Lufthansa is going to enter into an alliance with an airline that will leave their passengers stranded in Lagos or in Abuja.
“The airlines must learn to adhere to their fixed schedules because these foreign operators are monitoring and will not want anything that will embarrass passengers holding their tickets.”
Mr Adurogboye noted that some Nigerian airlines who ventured into international operations failed to adhere to the prerequisite business standards which led to their predicaments.
According to him, some accumulated huge debts to fuel vendors, airport operators and other service providers which cannot be blamed on lack of support from the NCAA and the Nigerian government.
“Before embarking on international operations, the airline ought to carry out comprehensive feasibility studies to guide them, but unfortunately, some even start before realising that they are supposed to pay their workers international salary.
“So, they cannot blame the NCAA or the government for their inability to sustain their operations, because they failed to adhere to the business principle,” he stressed.
Mr Adurogboye said the duty of the NCAA was to ensure that aircraft used for operations by airlines were airworthy to ensure the safety of the Nigerian airspace, noting that the regulatory agency had been carrying out this duty diligently.