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Hadi Sirika - No to Nigeria Air Hadi Sirika - No to Nigeria Air

Mr Hadi Sirika's plans to start up a national airline from scratch is just sheer folly. Maybe he is oblivious of the fact that American Airline is a consolidation of so many private airlines and its private anyway. He also fails to understand that British Airways is a merger of Caledonia and other airlines. So what does he really want? National carriers are drain pipes. We don't even need them. Rwandair is haemorrhaging cash badly. His best bet is to start with Arik and co, even if he wants to start. But we don't need a national carrier. I was once in a forum where Richard Branson said Nigerians killed Virgin Nigeria.

Richard Branson further explained how Nigerian top government functionaries were constantly asking for free flight tickets. The regime of freebies was so mammoth that coupled with a cocktail of bad management, the direction went south.

We need someone to tell Mr Sirika that his botched Nigeria Air show off at Farnborough was a national disaster. Shambolic acts like that make Nigeria look very bad.

The concept of national carrier as a source of national pride is akin to holding a slumber party for ignorance. The planes are not made in our country, we incur debts in parking fees all around the world, the maintenance is not done in Nigeria, as we have not developed our aviation industry. There is no logic behind this. It's just another way to waste hitherto plundered resources.

If Mr Sirika truly loves Nigeria, he should get investors in partnership with the federal government to invest in aircraft building factories in Nigeria. This, I believe would create empowerment for the citizenry.

If Mr Sirika thinks it is impossible he should know that in 1969 the Brazilian government invested in a project to build an airline. Today we have EMBRAER and the planes are bought everywhere in the world. Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica (Embraer) was created as a government-owned corporation. It is the third largest plane maker in the world after Boeing and Airbus.

Rather than globe-trotting, it is time to sit back and develop our aviation industry. China gave itself a target to start building planes before 2010 as part of its industrial plan. Despite the delay, Comac a government owned Chinese company now builds planes. Comac919 has already made its debut flight.

Mr Sirika should put up a viable plan to build planes. That is the real profit making part of the aviation sector. It would interest you to know that Boeing once had an airliner, but stopped it because it was not viable. If airline makers Boeing could fail at the airline business, that should lay credence to the Herculean task of running an airline business.

Recently South African airline was inundated by strikes. The financial state of the business is in dire straits: Kenyan airline, Air France, Thomas Cook and the likes. So why does Mr Sirika want to waste further resources on this national carrier?

I believe the future of the teeming youth in Nigeria matters and that can only be assured through job creation in real sectors that offer endless opportunities for the populace. I don't think a national carrier would provide those jobs.

Source: allAfrica.com