The man of the moment Senator Hadi Sirika, the minister of state aviation is in the eye of the storm. Working tirelessly to resurrect dead Nigeria Airways from the mortuary to life. The miracle being embarked by this articulate, ebullient, hardworking minister is very interesting. For a man who is not afraid of resurrecting a dead body, in fact, he has promised us not only resurrecting this dead enterprise, but has promised Nigeria air will not only be sound and healthy and will not breathe our polluted air, but fresh air made in heaven. I hope Senator Sirika is not pushing his luck too far. Well, the man is not afraid of challenges. You remember he gave a time limit of rehabilitating the dilapidated Nnamdi Azikwe Airport runway and delivered as promised. So far in his tenure of almost 3 years, we have not witnessed any air mishap that has been the regular feature of the aviation industry. Well, I will say without fear of contradiction that he is one of the few ministers of this regime that I will rate above average performance.
I don’t want to dwell on the disastrous history of the defunct Nigeria Airways which failure was characterized by incompetence, corruption, nepotism and other typical Nigeria factors. I’m sure the man of the moment is fully aware of these vices and will take appropriate steps to ensure Nigeria air avoids these endemic problems associated with managing government enterprises In Nigeria, especially now that the enterprise will be private.
It’s extremely important however to point out here that running an airline is not a tea party. It’s highly technical and complex. He should check the record of most of the airline and will discover that only a few of them are ran profitably.
Despite South African airline being rated the fifth best airline in the world, it has not declared profit since 2011 and has been in debts to the extent that it has received state guarantees worth 20b rand. Even the Almighty British Airways (BA) has been incurring losses. This year, BA posted its worse ever financial performance since its privatization in 1987. The Chief Executive of the BA Mr. Willie Walsh was quoted as saying he didn’t see any sign of recovery soon. An inventory of airlines globally shows that only a few airlines are running profitably. The most successful African airline Ethiopian airline recorded in 2015 barely $148m profit which translates to 9.49% of its operating profit margin. One of the most profitable airlines is Emirate airline. Reputed as the World’s biggest operator of wide-body aircraft has its profit margin increased by 124% in 2018 which is mere $762m. To me despite it a heavy investment of having 224 aircraft which were purchased from the factory and had a record of 58.5m passengers with 77.5m seat occupied in 2018, this profit margin is not impressive.
This few examples show clearly that running a profitable airline is not a tea party, especially given the numerous Nigerian factors which are hostile to operating a sound business.
Notwithstanding these hiccups, I hereby proposed a trajectory that if the operators of this enterprise will stick to, I think they will have a reasonable success.
I wrote an article two years ago and published in leadership Newspaper titled “National carrier as a National pride and venture for economic growth” where I raised several issues on the need for a National carrier. I’m not going to bother you with the details of the article but just to raise two points.
First of all, I pointed out that foreign airline makes an average of N400b annually from the purchase of tickets alone. In 2012, a total of 95, 000 performed hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia at the rate of N157000 per ticket which gives you a figure of N13,015, 000,0000, on the other hand, a total of 30, 000 performed pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the same year at N152,766 per ticket gives you N4.6b. In the same year, a total of 142, 000 Nigerians visited London and the estimated total amount spent on tickets is N25b. With these facts on just three routes, I don’t see the rationale for the Hon minister to target 41 international routes, in addition to 81 domestic and 41 regionals. All Nigeria air needs to do is to concentrate on 4 routes namely Britain, the USA, Dubai and South Africa, In addition to monopolizing the entire pilgrimage operations. Hypothetically, if we can get half of Nigerians traveling to London, the airlines will make N12.5b, monopolized the entire pilgrimage, it could make about N18b. Then you add what will be obtainable From the lucrative Dubai, South Africa, and American routes, then the Nigeria air will be swimming in cash and save Nigeria from excruciating pain the airlines have been causing to the Nigerian economy which is depleting our scarce foreign exchange.
The second area to address is the management of the airline. From the start, let us take a queue from Emirates and LNG Nigeria. When Dubai established their airline, they went and got the services of an experienced, competent Briton who worked with British airlines for 25 years and rose to the management position. He is Maurice Flanagan who became the pioneer Managing Director until it became well established before it was handed over to an indigene that was well groomed. It’s the same story with Nigeria Liquid natural gas. Although the pioneer Chief Executive of Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas( NLNG) is Dr. Onya, the technical partners that invested a lot of their funds made sure that foreigners were in charge of the highly skillful and technical aspect of the project. So far, Emirates airline and NLNG have been doing fantastically well and posting profits and paying dividends to shareholders. I expect Nigeria air will follow the trajectory of these two profitable companies in managing their enterprises.
With single-mindedness of Senator Hadi Sirika and having at the back of his mind the fiasco experienced by our Nigeria Airways and tips mentioned in this write up which if taken in to consideration in executing this highly delicate and technical enterprise, I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the minister will eject fresh air in Nigeria Air and not polluted air that led to the death of Nigeria Airways. We are waiting with bated breath to see the eventual success of this gigantic project. Senator Hadi Sirika has a date with history.Do you ever witness news, videos, articles, or photos that you believe it's good and rich for our blog?, or do you have a true life story that you would want us to feature on our blog; Adamawa Celebrities News? Kindly submit your stories, pictures, and videos to us now via Email: email@example.com, or WhatsApp: 08051600130Connect on Social Media: @adamawacelebrities