GROUP Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings, Mr. Bankole Bernard has said that the country’s airlines should request to pay their taxes from Nigeria on the foreign routes in naira instead of dollars to enable them stabilise on those routes instead of canvassing licenses to import Jet A1.
This is just as he called for them to understand their businesses and know their expectations with regards performance as well as create room for commercial directors as this will help them plan better despite challenges.
Bernard made this known in his office when visited by some members of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) while reacting to a series of industry based issues.
Many factors have been ascribed to Nigerian airlines’ inability to last and thrive on the regional and international routes, and according to the Finchglow boss, a good business understanding coupled with a commercial director could help airlines who foray regionally and internationally to make sound commercial decisions not withstanding the situation the airline finds itself.
He said, “I think the Nigerian airlines need to take a step back and really understand their businesses. I think the lack of Commercial Directors is putting a lot of burdens on the Nigerian airlines.
” Before any airline goes into operating a new route, you must have robust planning of your expected performance on such a route. The Nigerian airlines should get their commercials right.
“Other people are getting it right and they come to Nigeria despite the aviation fuel challenge and the problem of forex. For every time we go to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to buy dollars, do you know that the Federal Government is subsidising it for us?
“What some of our airlines are saying is that the government should continue to subsidise them to remain in business. That is not how a business is done. Our airlines choose the foreign routes they want to operate into and one expected them to have put their figures together.”
On ensuring a way to endure on the international scene he canvassed, “Our airlines on foreign routes should request to pay their taxes from Nigeria on the foreign routes in naira instead of dollars. This will make them stabilise in foreign routes. Instead of Nigerian airlines to canvas for a license to start selling aviation fuel, they can approach the government for a more practicable way out.
“As an industry, let’s not lose focus on our business decisions.”
Meanwhile, Bernard expressed the opinion that the rate at which the ticket prices were soaring and the level of insecurity on the roads, it is unlikely for air fares to come down given all the other variables surrounding the ticket.
He said, “Someone told me recently that a flight to Maiduguri is now about N400,000 and I said that makes a lot of sense. It is either you want to fly or you go by road where you may be kidnapped. It is not the airlines’ fault that they are charging that amount of money, but it is the reality on ground.
“The fact is that the cost of tickets would still soar higher than what we are experiencing at the moment because several things act as determining factors. Everything that has to do with air transport is dollar denominated. So, if it is dollar denominated, how can we ensure business success for our people? That is what we should be thinking about.