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Nigeria to unveil new national carrier

By Dara Rhodes
Last Updated: Monday, 21 October 2013 | 17:36 GMT

The Nigerian government is seeking a new dominant carrier to fly its national colours.

New Nigerian national carrier.

“What we are looking for is not a national carrier but it should be a dominant carrier. Whichever airline that they are hoping to be [the] national carrier is going to go the same way Nigerian Airways went, it will die a natural death,” Captain Dele Ore, President, Aviation Roundtable told CNBC Africa.

The domestic airline will enjoy privileges and preferential rights given by the Federal government for international operations. As the national carrier, it will also have a monopoly over some routes and bilateral agreements with foreign airlines.

“They have not established and explained to the world and Nigeria why Nigerian airways was liquidated. Staff who were pensioned from Nigerian airways were unpaid and they think they’ll be wishing them luck to succeed in whatever they are doing,” explained Ore.

Nigerian Airways served as the country’s flag carrier from 1 October 1958 and ceased operations in 2003. It was wholly owned by the government and the airline’s operations were concentrated at Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

“The shoes of Nigerian airways are too big for anyone to step into.”

In terms of operations, almost all the seven local carrier airlines are battling with funding, huge debt load and multiple charges. Ore believes that no matter how smart or good the idea is, the government is going about it the wrong way.

“The government is not doing enough to encourage investments into this place. Rather, than doing that, they have some very hostile policies that make it very unattractive,” he said.

According to Ore, if there is going to be a strong carrier, it will have to emerge from the private sector as the government doesn't run good enterprises.

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