• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

AON boss urges Nigeria to invest in aircraft maintenance facility

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Nogie Meggison, chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), has said that until Nigeria establishes an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the country the aviation sector will not optimise the inherent potentials and benefits of the sector.

Meggison said merely setting up a national carrier alone will not step up the development of the sector, as aircraft MROs have the capacity to create thousands of jobs and retain huge sums of money in the country that indigenous carriers spent on the repairs of their aircraft oversees.

Meggisson, who is also the President of JedAir, said setting up a aircraft maintenance facility in the country will assist to train the horde of aviation professionals in the country including aircraft engineers.

He said the unfavourable government policy of granting multiple entry points to foreign carriers into Nigeria has contributed to the stunted growth of indigenous airlines.

Meggison noted that the unfriendly business environment where operators grapple with multiple charges has not accelerated the process that would lead to private sector players showing interest in setting up aircraft repair centres.

“I don’t think the national carrier is the issue. Our policies are the issue. We had a national carrier in the defunct Nigeria Airways. One of the main issues was not being able to pay for its maintenance bills of airplanes scattered all over the world including Brazil, Ireland, Germany, France, USA, and Israel.

“If you have a national carrier and you don’t exercise the cabotage law or the Fifth Freedom Right of the Chicago Convention of 1945, we are putting water down the drain. If you have a national carrier and you don’t have MRO, you are putting water down the drain.

“Those intervention funds did not filter down to the aviation sector. The last one of N350bn to the aviation and power sectors; the one for aviation actually went to the banks.

He said until government puts in place policies that would protect indigenous airlines the sector’s potentials for growth would be stunted.

“We have allowed the foreigners to take the jobs of our pilots and engineers. We have allowed the foreigners to do multiple entries into our airports because our policies are so loose and we allow them to take all the passengers to the detriment of the Nigerian carriers,” he stated.