CHAIRMAN of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema has stated that airlines in the country were designed to fail ab-ibnitio with the kind of operating environment they are in ranging from what he described as double taxation, lack of facilities for night flights and other issues.
Onyema who was speaking at the Aviation Round Table (ART) 2nd Quarter Breakfast Meeting on Safe Airlines Operations and Profitable Earnings for Economic Growth stated that one cannot talk about safety and profitability if there is no change in policies.
The Air Peace boss who passionately explained what he went through to get the airline started, explained that aviation does not give the kinds of profits people think explaining that mega carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa and the rest make a marginal 3% to 5% but in Nigeria because of the harsh environment, airlines are talking about cutting their losses.
He said,” Aviation doesn’t give you the profit as an entrepreneur. Profit is marginal and airlines that operate in conducive environment make between 3%-5%. In Nigeria where the environment is harsh you don’t make profit but you talk about cutting losses.”
“You cannot talk about safe airline operations without talking about policy. You talk about bureaucracy, I call it sheer wickedness, without conducive environment there is no safe airline operations.”
Onyeama decried what he called double taxation stating that if something is not done airlines may not survive in the next year.
” We are paying 37 charges in all. So before you have started operations you have already lost 10% of a paltry N20,000 from that amount you pay all those charges will be deducted only N9,500 comes out from that N20,000 from where we carry out maintenance, buy fuel, pay salaries etc.”
According to him, if out of 150 airlines only 8 are in existence then something is wrong.
” people say we are not being over burdened, has anyone bothered to ask why 150 airlines cannot do well if it flies for less than 12hours as there are no facilities for night flights and passengers do not know this they will only attack the airlines.”
There must be a tinkering with the legislative input, there must be legislation involved.
“Part of the problems of the airlines are the owners, most Nigerians do not regard bank money with any iota of respect as a result it becomes difficult to secure bank loans. I pay 26% on my loans airlines must show integrity to pay loans how I get to my height is that on loans I created a sinking fund so automatically will enter into the the bank and the banks get paid, that shows sincerity of purpose.”
The Air Peace boss further congratulated Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for government’s policy on Ease of Doing business stating that it was evident.