Joanne Moore, a spokeswoman for dre aviation, a Leading Airline Consultancy based in the United Kingdom that focuses on African Aviation has confirmed that the advisory firm is in dialogue with a number of Nigerian airlines on future strategy following the local regulators new minimum aircraft requirement which will mean that local airlines will have to purchase or lease more aircraft to remain viable or merge inorder to fulfil the minimum aircraft requirements.
Speaking exclusively with Nigerian Flight Deck, Moore equally stated that the move is a progressive and necessary one that needs the industry’s support and buy-in but needs not takeaway the myriad of air operations under general aviation that may not require up to six aircraft.
According to her, a minimum of six aircraft as start-up if properly managed may lead to a drastic reduction in flight cancellations and help deploy resources to appropriate places where technical hitches may affect and delay flights.
This will be a direct benefit to the travelling public, however she went on to highlight the economic benefits of costs synergies to the carriers – “it makes sense that in such a high base cost environment that cost synergies are maximised by flying more – the benefits are exponential, this is turn will lead to financially stronger carriers operating in Nigeria – something that has been elusive to date”.
This echoes recent comments by industry veteran Sukh Mann, who recently commented that the change in legislation was a “master stroke by the NCAA” and would bolster the financial and economic viability of the Nigerian airlines.
Moore went on to say, “We are witnessing a common thread of thought amongst our clients; there is a lack of trust between local carriers and this will be a major impediment on mergers in the Nigerian airline sector, there is also the question of whether lenders would continue to finance the potentially newly merged carriers due to individual shareholder business practises; I think that airlines will either cease to operate and sell their assets or they will be forced to increase their fleet size which requires major funding in an already poor economic and hard currency starved environment.
“Whilst we wholly agree that the NCAA requirements are a major step forward for the sector in Nigeria we are concerned that the carriers are either not taking the new regulations seriously or do not understand the implications fully.”
” We also know that not all operations are alike and that the current DG had previously promised to boost general aviation in the country by providing regulations that will stimulate their activities.
Operations like charters, crop dusting, Large Air tankers, air ambulances and a host of others may not need as much as six aircraft to operate and that needs to be looked into to eliminate market confusion.
In all, we perceive the six aircraft move as a capacity boost for Nigerian operators and believe that the reasons are for the economic survival of the airlines in the industry as there has been talk in the market about ulterior motives for this move. It should be recalled that the NCAA had a extensive consultation period with all stakeholders whilst formulating this policy and at the time, as per our understanding, no objections were raised by market participants.”