CHAIRMAN West Link Airline, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia has punched several holes in the submission by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika that the planned Nigeria Air will employ no fewer than 70,000 people terming the statement as decisive as it is not feasible to do with a start up especially as a timeline for the creation of those jobs is not stated.
Mshelia made this known to our reporter using indices from major carriers over 50 years old pre-Covid-19 implying that even the planned resumption of the airline in April 2022 may be far from reality especially with the processes on ground.
Mshelia who spoke to our reporter stressed,”Number one: airline to create 70,000 jobs when it starts, even before the COVID-19 hit British Airways which is 47 years had 42, 000 staff all over the world, Lufthansa is 68 years has 100,000 these are large airlines I am talking about. KLM with 100/102 years of existence, they have just about 100,000 employees and then if you come down to our level of Kenyan Airways which has just less than 5000, Etihad, state airline for the middle east has less than 13, 000-14,000. How on earth will an airline that is a dream away, or a mirage I would say will come and employ 70,000 people?
On the projected April 2022 date, he gave a lot reasons why the process on its own will militate against the start stressing questioning how the Minister aims to midwife a carrier into existence without registration and due process.
He said apart from the much spoken about 5% equity belonging to Nigeria,no one knows the shareholders which means it is shrouded in absolute secrecy.
“There has to be transparency in the whole exercise. He must be called to order. It would take you a minimum of 12 months to register an airline when you know the name even with government leverage because there are incubation periods for some of these certification processes. You need to register and when the CAC gives you registration certificate, you need to apply for Air Transport License (ATL) if they will be doing scheduled operations.
“We all know that every director has to fill a form because the ICAO recommended practice is all those who operate an airline must have reputable track records. So we don’t have criminals, doing gunrunning, laundering and what have you, every director on paper must be vetted by the SSS and security agencies. You fill a Personal History Statement (PHS) form and submit it and it would be sent to SSS who will go to everywhere you put on that CV to verify.
“After the vetting you will make an advert for 28 days to last so anyone who has an issue with the licensing of the ATL to that applicant should come up with reasons, there could be court cases going on for months or years, that should further tell you something
“That has not been done before you get ATL so you can apply for AOC, no one needs to tell you journalists how long it takes to get AOC in Nigeria, they are not going to jump the process because it is a Nigerian project, we will not allow that plus we are a category one CAA, they should not dare do that otherwise they will lose that status,” Mshelia warned.
Mshelia also spoke on the airline’s logo unveiling in 2018 stating, ” He unveiled a name in Farnborough, nobody goes to unveil a name, you are setting up an airline for Nigerians you hid the name from them and went to Farnborugh where nobody is but those you selected to go there to unveil a name.
“People go to airshows to showcase their products you just saw how Overland, Ibom Air were at Dubai Airshow and made orders. There you will meet financiers, who will finance aircraft for you and go with the manufacturers and if you have good track records you can slip into it like our airlines have been lucky to get financing and signed up to get new aircraft, that’s what happens at Farnborough, nobody goes there to unveil the name of an airline. This man did it.”