Domestic airlines challenged on alliances

The former manager of the defunct Capital Airlines, Mr. Amos Akpan, has called on the domestic carriers to form alliances in order to enjoy the attendant benefits.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Akpan stated that all the alliances going on in the aviation world had been successful because airlines build systems and enshrine procedures that are compatible.

He enjoined the domestic carriers to upgrade and cooperate with one another but pointed out that “it is very difficult, if not impossible, to align or share maintenance, passengers, cargo, or routes if your systems/procedures don’t agree.”

He said if the airlines interlined, a passenger holding a First Nation Airways (FNA) ticket from Port Harcourt to Lagos should be admitted on Aero flight.
“The payment to aero contractors by FNA should be sorted out by a payment system. Tyre change on B737-500 of Dana and B737-500 of Med-View should be synchronized. Dana aircraft departing the domestic terminal of the MurtalaMuhammed Airport 2 (MM2) to Abuja at should carry both Dana and Med-View passengers to Abuja while a Med-View aircraft departing MM2 to Port Harcourt should carry both Med-View and Dana passengers to Port Harcourt. “These practices would save money for the airlines, increase their yield and reduce stress for the passengers. Our aviation managers should focus on airline alliances for synergy. Nigerian operators like Arik Air should channel their energies to compete with British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta, Emirates on the New York, London, Milan, and Dubai routes. They should enter into alliances with other domestic carriers for synergy and passenger pool,” he said.

Akpan also commented on the federal government’s waiver of duty on aircraft and aircraft spare parts for airline operators describing it as a “good move.”
However, he regretted that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had not taken full advantage of the opportunity and submit a comprehensive list that would give full economic benefits to the operators.

“The most frequently used items were not covered by the exemption. These are aircraft tyres and lubricants. Records from the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (nahcoaviance) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL) import warehouses in Lagos reveal that all lubricants and tyres are dutiable. An operator will need to import tyres and oil a thousand times before importing an engine or any other part,” he said.

He also objected to the agitation by some stakeholders in the aviation industry that airline operators be permitted to import aircraft for inspection by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) so as to save the money the agency would spend on flying inspectors overseas to check them (aircraft).

“Nigerians will bring aircraft that do not satisfy the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) 2006/2009 requirements. They will then use political connections to influence NCAA to permit them to operate such aircraft. Ordering them to return such aircraft will be difficult. They will cook books and bring arguments to pressure regulatory authorities to bend the rules,” he said.

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