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National carrier: Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers urge FG to copy Emirates’ model

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The federal government has been advised to emulate the Emirates Airlines model in its drive to give the country a befitting national carrier.

The president, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Engr. Abednego Galadima in an interview with our correspondent on Thursday in Lagos, said that the delivery of a national carrier for Nigeria would go a long way to boost the industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria, but said the government must get it right from the outset.

According to him, the adoption of the Public-Private Participation (PPP) model for the national carrier was good for Nigeria but said the Nigerian public should be the highest beneficiary of the scheme.

Emirates Airlines, which is one of the two flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates was established in 1985 by the UAE Government. It is owned by Dubai’s Investment Corporation and started operations with two leased aircraft.

It has a lean workforce comparable to a low-cost carrier and a flat organisational structure that allows the airline to maintain low overhead costs. It presently has over 250 airworthy aircraft in its fleet.

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Since 1995, Emirates had operated an all-widebody fleet, largely composed of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s.

Galadima said: “What we are saying is that we want the industry to grow and develop. The more the merrier. Therefore, I will urge the government to get it right ab initio. Let it be in a manner that Nigerian people are the gainers.

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“I think the government has come out with their model, which to me is not bad. They are talking about PPP; that is fine and is good for a smooth takeoff. They can copy the Emirates model and I think that is what they are trying to do, especially the way the airline started.”

On the suspension of extension of operating hours to airlines flying into sunrise and sunset airports announced on Wednesday by the managing director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, Galadima said it was a step in the right direction.

He explained that safety and security could not be compromised in the sector for any reason and appealed to the airlines to adhere strictly to their schedules to avoid a crisis in their operations.

“If the intention is based on safety and security of airlines and persons, it is not out of place. I don’t think the intention is to shortchange the airlines.

“I will only advise the airlines to ensure that they adhere strictly to their schedules instead of asking for extension by FAAN and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). As you know, safety and security are our top priority in the industry and can’t be compromised.”

NAAPE also presented an ‘Award of Excellence’ to Green Africa Airways for its excellent service delivery since commencing flight services about a year ago.

Galadima said that the award was to spur the airline on and to continue in the delivery of top-notch services to the industry and the travelling public at large.

What you should know

  • The national carrier suffered a huge setback in December 2018 when the airline failed to commence operations as assured by Sirika. Sirika had earlier unveiled its name and logo at the Farnborough Airshow, London, on July 17, 2018.
  • The government after the Federal Executive Council meeting had announced the immediate suspension of the carrier due to lack of ‘willing investors.”
  • In the first quarter of 2022, Sirika had said private investors were going to raise the sum of $250 million for the national carrier.
  • In preparation for that, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in June issued it an Air Transport License (ATL), while the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) is still being awaited.
  • However, industry analysts also faulted the ATL received from NCAA and doubted if all the processes leading to the acquisition of the certificate were followed by the government.

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