An aviation expert Olumide Uhunayo gave the advice Sunday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
Minister of State for Aviation Sen. Hadi Sirika recently announced the appointment of a transaction adviser for the new national carrier. He expressed optimism that the carrier would take off in the next 12 months, under a public-private partnership.
To this end, Uhunayo emphasised on the need for Nigeria to have a strong airline that could compete favourably with its foreign counterparts.
Because some airlines are ”crumbling”
He said: “When you look at the situation right now, you will see that some of our airlines are crumbling; so we need another carrier to compete.
“The government needs to work out the modalities to midwife this airline because we cannot have a national carrier that will be given undue favours by the regulators, against domestic competitors.
“There should be a level playing field. The airline must go through all the necessary documentation and safety processes.
“The only time the airline should be favoured is when it is operating outside Nigeria, against other foreign airlines. But once it is here, it should be subject to the same regulations like its domestic counterparts.’’
According to him, a strong new carrier will increase competition, employ Nigerians and provide options for travellers.
Calls for review of agreements
Uhunayo also called for the review of the Bi-lateral Air Services Agreements entered by Nigeria with some countries, adding that it has affected domestic airlines.
He said: “the truth is that it is not all BASAs that are profitable.
“We have about five airlines that had the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit Certificate, yet some of them have gone down.
“This certificate was supposed to give them the advantage to compete globally and benefit from the BASAs but unfortunately they went down.
“Most of our airlines don’t have commercial agreements with foreign airlines, which would have been very beneficial to them,” he said.