Chief Executive of FMC Aviation Services, Mr. Herbert Odika, has cautioned airlines in the country to desist using the Boeing 737 aircraft series from flying one hour or less flights stating that the misapplication of that aircraft type is responsible for the low survival rate of the average airline business in the country.
Odika, said this while exchanging views with aviation correspondents in his office at Ikeja stating that airlines should also form alliances and eschew ego if they are going to keep their businesses afloat in this present time where the world is hinging more on collaborative and not competitive measures.
FMC Aviation boss explained that Boeing 737 used for an hour flight by airlines in the country were also used by Kenya, Egypt and Ethiopia airlines for between five and six hours flights while some have over seven hours resistance.
He noted that in the days of Nigeria airways the Fokker aircraft were used for domestic operations while the Boeing aircraft were used for regional flights.
“The B737 is not a domestic aircraft because the charges, costs of running 737 the fuel cost for a returning flight is running near half a million naira. The industry is not making profit because of the aircraft type we are using for domestic flights presently”
Describing the B737 as a peculiar aircraft Mr. Odika said it has high maintenance cost compared to other aircraft type.
He advised airlines operators to seek alternative to Boeing aircraft if they were to remain in business adding that the cost factor of maintaining a 737 in the country was not cheap hence the business was failing.
Odika explained that he Bombardier aircraft was very easy and cost effective in terms of maintenance “Get prop jets they are very safe, can we afford to keep B737 in the air?”
On the issue of pilots’ unemployment, he said a lot of pilots struggle in the country to get job because they lack the flying hours required for employment and advised government to train these pilots through giving airlines tax relief.
On the issue of establishing a national carrier in the country he said that at this moment it was not advisable and asked government to focus on development of the aviation sector.
Odika giving his reasons said that it will be difficult for the government to meet up with subsides associated with operating a national carrier in the country.
The former regional manager with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Limited NAHCO declared “A national carrier must be ready to subsidize its charges by government. Etihad, Saudi Air, give concessions to their national carriers in areas of fuelling which is the area where the main money goes. Will Nigeria be ready to reduce taxes or increase it?”
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