Chairman, Aviation Roundtable, retired Capt Dele Ore, has declared that Nigerian airlines can only survive in the industry if they agree to merge.
Ore, a former Directors of Operations of the defunct Nigerian Airways, believed Nigerian airlines must merge into two in order to remain relevant and viable.
The veteran pilot said this in Lagos on Thursday while reacting to the recent development in the aviation industry, especially the crash of the Dana Air aircraft in Lagos penultimate Sunday.
He said, “The only way forward for Nigerian airline is to follow what happened in the banking industry; there must be a consolidation in the aviation industry. We have to collapse all the small, small airlines into two major airlines. Most of the airlines in the country today cannot survive alone.
“The only problem is that they will not merge because of pride, because of ego. It is better to have one per cent major airline than to have 100 per cent of small airlines.”
Ore contended that the Presidential Fleet should be the standard for the consolidated airlines, saying the standard would assure investors and passengers of the safety of the airlines.
“Have you heard that the President is stranded in any country because of broken down aircraft? It is not possible. So, what I’m saying is that the President should insist that the Presidential Fleet should be the baseline for all airlines in the country and should be replicated in other airlines,” said Ore, who noted that the Nigerian Airways had 32 functional aircraft in the 70s.
“The Presidential Fleet is so efficient and well run and that should be the standard.”
Ore, who said Nigerians should stop speculating on the likely cause of the Dana plane crash, described as illegal the constitution of a panel by the Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, to probe airlines operations and the crash.
He contended that President Goodluck Jonathan, Oduah and the Senate were “ill-advised” to make pronouncements regarding theplane’s crash and its operations without the conclusion of investigations.
The Senate, in the wake of the crash, had recommended that the Director General of the National Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren, should step aside, while calling for a probe of the plane’s crash.
Ore, however, argued that the action and pronouncements of the minister and the Senate were illegal and contradict aviation regulations in the local and international operations.
“There is only one agency that can carry out an investigation of the crash and that is the accident Investigation Bureau. The Minister cannot set up a committee in competition with ICAO regulations otherwise, we may get a red card very soon,” he said.