Stakeholders disagree on FG’s approval to lease 3 planes to Nigeria Air

By Chinelo Obogo, [email protected] 09051862508

The the Federal Executive Council’s approval for the country’s flag carrier, Nigeria Air, to lease three planes to enable it to begin operations has caused some controversy in the aviation sector, with experts disagreeing on the best line driving.

While some experts say wet lease aircraft will not provide needed jobs, others are of the view that since it would be temporary, there is nothing wrong with that.

Following the Federal Executive Council meeting held last week, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, who briefed House correspondents, said: “We said in our business plan, which was approved earlier, that we start with three planes for the first instance and then we progress. We will have a mixture of Airbus and Boeing because every airline that grows will use both.

But reacting to the development, an aviation expert, Dr. Alex Nwuba, who spoke at the 26th Airports and Aviation Correspondents League conference held in Lagos, said while it sounds like a good idea, there is nothing the industry would benefit from a wet lease as the airline would pay for planes in foreign currency and pay foreign crew, while insisting that it would create no jobs. He also said that was not what the country wanted from a national carrier, as it would decimate existing national airlines.

“What is a lease with services? Wet lease is an arrangement where the government has contracted an airline from outside the country to bring in aircraft and crews. So how does this solve our problem as a nation in terms of job creation as an industry? How does this solve the currency exchange problem we are already facing because we had to pay for this serviced rental in foreign currency?

”How does this solve the problem of availability of funds through the Central Bank or will the national carrier get its money through the black market to fund its operation? It is essentially an absurd proposition made to a group of people who have no knowledge of what is going on and who act as judges receiving information on which they judge without basic facts.

“There is a need to go to the market and sell the 51% for the Nigerian public through the stock exchange. This would boost the stock market. It will get buy-in from stakeholders. The average Nigerian will be able to put a few dollars he put into MTN stock and buy into the national carrier.

“They will have access to the money to buy planes or enter into a bareboat lease agreement which is basically a financial lease and make payments over a period of time, even though in the financial industry that I work in, making a leasing in dollars for a domestic operation, earning naira makes no sense in this age of the business cycle that we find ourselves in. Maybe we pay cash for the planes and bring it, otherwise you rent a plane for N700 for a dollar.

“At the end of the year, it’s 1000, you can’t make those lease payments. So we need to bring this product to market, get buy-in from stakeholders, create new jobs within the Nigerian economy, create new solutions, bring in wet lease aircraft from overseas to fly national affairs makes absolutely no business sense,” he said. said.

The post Stakeholders disagree over FG’s approval to lease 3 planes for Nigeria Air appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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