The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has called on the Federal Government to convert Arik Airline to a national carrier to boost business opportunities in the nation’s aviation sector.
Managing Director, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, explained in a statement obtained from Nairametrics that if his request is considered and approved, it would play a critical role in the development of the nation’s economy.
He said, “I call on the 9th National Assembly to reform the aviation sector, which would help local airline grow and attract many other investors that are eying Nigeria’s huge aviation business opportunity.
“I recalled how respite came the way of Arik Airlines, which was immersed in a heavy financial debt burden that threatened to permanently ground the airline when AMCON took over and restructured the operations of the airline.
“With the right support and investment, Arik has all it takes to become a massive airline given the volume of reformative and transformational work AMCON did upon intervention in 2017. But to do that, the National Assembly owes it a duty to reform the aviation sector by reducing the different layers of charges by different agencies, which makes it extremely difficult for airline to survive in the country.
“Arik has enough aircraft and facilities that can be used to set up a new airline. Even if the government wants to set up a national carrier to service just the domestic market, which currently has a lot of gap, it is possible with what Arik currently has. Today if you want to travel to Lagos from Abuja and you did not book your ticket two or three days earlier, the chances are that you may not get a seat, which tells us that there is a serious gap.”
Kuru added that he expected the National Assembly to help the aviation industry and asked why is it that there is no airline in Nigeria that has successfully existed for 10 years? According to him, the nation has successful businessmen in Nigeria, which tell means that what is happening in the aviation sector is a structural problem that needs to be addressed.
“Aviation in Nigeria is a business that lacks good corporate governance. It is usually a one-man show kind of business and that sort of business structure has all sorts of management challenges. But having said that, the current state of the sector is not helping the operators, for instance, the fees and charges they pay to different agencies regulators are too high,” he added.