Wednesday 10 April 2013

Why many Nigerian airlines have gone under - Boyo

Aviation Nigeria

The Managing Director of Overland Airways, Captain Edward Boyo, has listed wrong selection of aircraft and high equipment financing cost as some of reasons responsible for high rate of airline casualty in Nigeria.

Boyo, who also enumerated the way forward for the aviation sector, however said that current airline operators were already changing their strategies in order to put an end to high rate of airline bankruptcy in the country.

He spoke at a news conference organised by the airline and ATR, a France-based aircraft manufacturing company.

He said, “I would say that wisdom is just beginning to come into the aviation industry in Nigeria. Professionalism has finally arrived. We realised that the Boeing made products and other types of medium range aircraft are not really suited for the sector we have in Nigeria. Aircraft are designed for a purpose: we have long haul planes, medium haul planes, short haul planes, and we have special mission aircraft.

“There was a misfit in selection of aircraft by Nigerian operators of the past, whereby someone acquired a medium haul aircraft and used it for a short haul operation or a long haul aircraft and used it for a short haul operation. There is no way you can make money as an operator that way. And many things we do in life, if we use the right equipment for the right purpose, you will achieve success. If you use the wrong equipment, the economics will not work. And that was one of the reasons that accounted for airlines failure in Nigeria in the past.”

The Oveland boss further noted that the problem of high financing cost of aircraft was not peculiar to Nigeria but Africa in general.

According to him, there is a lower aircraft financing cost in Europe and other advanced nations.

On the recent controversy over the safety of old planes, Boyo said aircraft were measured by their airworthiness, and not by the age.

He said some “political or commercial players tried to take advantage of the sensitivity of Nigerians to say no new aircraft is safe.

“Aircraft of various ages continue to operate all over the world and the same Nigerians travel out and go into them. It is the state of airworthiness of an aircraft, not the age. Every aircraft has service life. And they have price mark, and you draw the graph; any aircraft that is beyond any particular price mark will not be economical to operate. But typically, you take it back and forth until you cannot pay your debts.

“You discover that most airlines end in debts. They don’t pay the airport authorities, they don’t pay civil aviation authorities and they retard the growth of aviation in their country, even in Nigeria.”

Comparing the effectiveness of various aircraft, Boyo said, “The media has always said that something is wrong somewhere. Use the right equipment.  One cycle is measured by one take off and one landing. One cycle by an ATR-72 plane on Lagos-Abuja route is the same a Boeing 737 will use. It is the same cycle an Airbus A380 or Boeing 747 will use on the Lagos-Abuja route. One cycle of ATR will cost you about $2,000; one cycle of Boeing 737 will cost you about $7,500 to $8,000. A cycle of Boeing 747 will probably cost about $12,000 to $14,000.”

“This has to do with what you have to programme for maintenance, fuel etc. You realise that if you use the wrong equipment, you will generate revenue but that revenue will not survive the cost. 80 per cent of the distance within Nigeria today is less than 300 nautical miles. The longest route within Nigeria is Lagos to Maiduguri. And even that distance, you can still do it with a turbo prop.”

Sifax invests over N20bn in SAHCOL in three years
The Sifax Group, the parent company of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited, SAHCOL, said it has invested over N20bn in ground handling equipment since the acquisition of the company over three years ago.

A Board Member of the company, Mr. Kayode Filani disclosed this yesterday during the unveiling of new ground handling equipment for SAHCOL.

According to Filani, with the acquisition of the equipment, Sifax was determined to take ground handling in the country’s aviation sector to the next level.

Some of the equipment showcased to the media and some stakeholders in the sector yesterday at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos are Commanders 15i JBT Loader, 40i JBT Loader and 30i JBT Loader, which performed different ground handling functions on aircraft ranging from narrow to wide body aircraft.

Filani said that the equipment acquired was the latest of such in the sub-region, stressing that the company would not rest on its oars until ground handling sub-sector in the country was at par with other developed aviation countries in the world.

Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director, SAHCOL, Mr. Oluropo Owolabi said that the purpose of the new ground handling equipment was to provide more efficient services to its numerous clients scattered all over the airports in the country.

Source: PUNCH


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