Despite the numerous unanswered questions that characterized the project ‘Nigeria Air’, the outbreak of Coronavirus has highlighted national air travel gains lost as the project remains suspended.
It is true that there were puzzling questions than answers on Federal Government’s postulations and possibility of the carrier emerging to resolve the deficiencies in the aviation industry.
The government didn’t disclose the investors that are putting money in the airline; while its willingness to provide the $300million take-off grant was strange and the number of aircraft in the proposed fleet wasn’t revealed.
The threat of coronavirus unearthed air travel challenges with absence of an air carrier. Last week Aero contractors and Dana air both pledged support to the federal government donating their aircrafts for the fight against the spread of the pandemic virus and distribution of relief materials and medical aides.
Both airlines suspended their operations as safety precautions to stem further spread of the virus in the nation.
Oh! Would ‘Nigeria Air’, the national carrier that was suspended, have been an advantage to the nation at this critical moment? The initial plan was for it to have begun operations in December 2018.
Nigeria received global commendation for the rescue of its citizens from the hate-inspired killings by black indigenes of South Africa against foreigners in 2019. This good gesture was made possible by an indigenous air carrier, Air Peace, which rescued Nigerians living in South Africa, to save them from killings from their host country.
Today we are in a situation where private airlines are performing the role that should have been the pride of Nigeria Air. Air Peace stepped up to address the crisis situation to evacuate Nigerians from South Africa now Aero Contractors and Dana Air are doing same at another time that matters.
The government would have to spend whooping amount of money to hire airlines in the distribution of relief materials that it received as support to fight the spread of COVID-19, because there is no national carrier to help in the distribution of relief materials and emergency issues.
Flights have been suspended and land borders closed, at a moment like this what would the government have done when other nations of the world need all their resources to fight against this virus that has spread to over 100 countries?
There is always a lesson to be learnt in situation like this, the government really needs national carrier.
MMS Plus reached out to the President of National Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC), Prince Adeyinka Bakare, who noted that benefit of having a national carrier, would have been enormous flying the Nigeria flag and suggested the need to have the national carrier as Public-Private Project, PPP, rather than a government thing just as the Emirate airline and South Africa airline is managed by private and not the government directly.
Bakare lauded efforts by the private sectors and tasked the government to create a friendly environment to do business so that in times like this the government can receive needed support.