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FG should focus on flag carriers, not national airline, says Allen Onyema

 


Allen Onyema, Air Peace chief executive officer (CEO), has faulted the push for a national carrier, describing the plan as a “moribund idea”.

 

Onyema spoke on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television.

 

The CEO said the country does not need a national airline owing to the difficulties of running such a business.

 

“Does Nigeria actually need a national carrier? It’s an emphatic no,” he said.

 

 “The national carrier thing connotes government ownership. The government has no business doing the business of commercial airline operations.

 

“The national carrier thing is a moribund idea that has been jettisoned several decades ago by countries.”

 

According to Onyema, several airlines that bear country names are just “flag carriers” and are not owned by nations as many may have assumed.

 

 “In the olden days, they used to be [owned by governments] but they are all divested. They are all flag carriers,” he said.

 

“Why is my country going backwards? In 2023, talking about national carrier?”

 

Onyema said he believes the few African countries with national carriers are those “that cannot afford business entrepreneurs with the right funding.

 

In May this year, the ministry of aviation, under Hadi Sirika, former minister, unveiled Nigeria Air — three days before the end of the administration.

 

However, the move steered several reactions and was enmeshed in controversy.

 

Two months after President Bola Tinubu took over power, the federal government announced that the project was suspended.

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