Some aviation experts and stakeholders have applauded the Federal Government over the steps and processes taken so far in its determination to establish a new national carrier for the country.
Group Capt. John Ojikutu (Rtd), an Aviation Security Expert, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday, said the process so far was commendable.
Ojikutu said the step taken by the government was a true reflection of the process of setting up a national carrier adding that he was happy with the move.
According to him, what they have done now is the first step, the next step now is for us to know who and who is buying shares into it and how much is government’s share in it.
“All the state governments must have hand in it and must take their maximum 15 per cent share or more.
“Going to the United Kingdom to unveil the name, logo and brand colour of the airline are nothing, because having the airline on ground is the most important.
“ In 1992, the Nigerian Airways’ logo was changed from elephant to eagle.
“It doesn’t matter where the name or logo of an airline is unveiled,’’ he said.
Ojikutu, Chief Executive of Centurion Securities, said only true national carrier would survive in the country, adding that the defunct Nigerian Airways was a mere government airline by its composition.
He said the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was able to liquidate the airline because it was not a true national carrier.
According to him, a national carrier must have the Nigerians’ participation in it, it must not be controlled by the government alone; the public should have shares in it.
“The federal and state governments will have shares in it but their shares should not be more than 10 per cent, the Nigerian public should have about 30 per cent.
“The big men like Dangote and others should gather themselves and buy about 20 per cent or 30 per cent while the remaining one should be given to that partner that is bringing the aircraft.
“That is the way we should go and that is the time we can say we have a national carrier.
“A national carrier must have the participation of everybody including you and I through the stock market.
“Anything outside that is not a national carrier, it is either a government airline or some people just sat behind and make an airline like Virgin Nigeria,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Isaac Balami, former President, National Association of Air Craft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), said the government was in compliance with the process of setting up a national carrier.
Balami said that private sector control was the best way to go if the airline must stand the test of time and compete favourably in the international air transport market.
He urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for the national carrier to succeed, adding that a successful national carrier would help other local airlines to succeed.
He also called on Nigerians to support the vision because of its potential to create thousands of jobs for the Nigerian population.
On the initial funding by the government, Balami said that every national carrier in the world enjoyed initial government funding while the private partners are allowed to manage it.
He said unveiling the name and logo of the carrier outside the country could be for strategic reasons since some of its technical partners were in Europe and America.
According to him, it could be a way of announcing to the world that Nigeria is ready and we are serious about it but I know that the minister will also bring something back home.