This is one big question about the aviation industry in Nigeria that been of great concern to many and it is more so especially because it is believed that Nigeria is a huge market good enough to sustain growth and development in the industry.
In an attempt to provide answer to this question, people are quick to blame inclement operating environment, they blame over regulations, multiple taxations, excessive and duplicated charges, limited access to forex etc. The question that comes to mind following these complaints is “didn’t they know about all these before they decided to go into the business? Wasn’t there a due diligence”?
I’m writing this not because I have definite answers to this question, I am bringing it as a food for thought. However, I will like to share some experiences that make suggestions:
Years back, I was standing at the tarmac of NAIA Abuja watching passengers disembark from a flight and one of them a regular passenger walked up to me and asked “what is the passenger capacity of this airplane”? and I replied 162. Then he goes “you guys are in real good business”! “I was seated in the business class cabin and I tried to count the number of passengers that boarded, I lost count” airline business is indeed a good business! . This is how many jump into the business of establishing airlines, they board a flight, count the number of passengers, multiply by the amount they paid and come to the conclusion that it’s a good business.
Again some years back I was on the island to have a meeting with a certain “big man” who wanted to float an airline. He said he was planning to acquire XYZ airplanes and that he intends dominate the mostly eastern Nigeria. I asked him who recommended the airplanes for him and he mentioned name of someone who is far older than me in the industry and I became scared to voice my opinion, but I told him he cannot achieve proper utilization of those airplanes on those routes that he wanted to fly and that it won’t be profitable. He looked at me and in his eyes I saw disappointed and he ended the meeting abruptly. I went back to the person that referred me and narrated the experience and he laughed at me. “you have to learn how to say o yes sir, even if it’s 747 he wants to use to fly Lagos owerri tell him it’s the best.
The stories above shows lack of proper understanding of the business especially to those who jump in from other sectors and also the lack of willingness of the prefessionals they engage to tell them the truth, this is either because the man with the money believes he knows it all or because the professional just wants to get a job and make money even if it’s for a short time.
Source: Clement Ifeanyi Nwabor