Aviation industry faces collapse over COVID-19 — Daily Times Nigeria


*’It might take it years to recover’

Chukwuemeke Iwelunmo, Lagos

Due to the massive effects of Covid-19 pandemic on global aviation, there are indications that the industry in Nigeria may be heading for doom, as its future is looking very bleak.

Speaking on this development, the President of Aviation Round Table, Elder Gbenga Olowo, also expressed fear over the future of the industry in the country.

Olowo, who painted the gory picture of the industry in the face of the pandemic, when speaking with the newsmen in Lagos remarked that the vaccines may not prevent the infection.

“I just pray that COVID-19 does not become everybody’s portion. Looking at the outlook, it is not very favourable. It might take us another two, three years to get to 2019 level and if we are expanding, we better expand sensibly and economically not just say I want to do airline for the sake of doing an airline. That is not it.”

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Olowo noted that many challenges were facing domestic airlines which include employee wages, fuel and debts owed agencies the aviation sector.” The guy who wears the shoes know where it pains and palliative as small as it, we should allow the airlines to disburse as they deem fit.

If you look at the meagre palliative, a chunk of it went to the agencies of government. I thought the chunk should go to the airlines because, without the airlines, all other service providers won’t be there,” he remarked.

He canvassed stronger airline support stressing that what they are getting is meagre and that they did not get a fair share from the palliatives to settle debts.

“Looking at the sector, our airlines are not too strong. We have said it enough that they should merge. I hope the sense in the merger will come to play with the new ones; otherwise, they will continue to parasite one another and at the end of the day, none of them may survive in another ten years given all the constraints on the ground now COVID-19 challenges and all that.”

Olowo noted that with the trends of events, they may just be airlines on paper, adding that merger remained the solution for airlines to move from the two aircraft to 30 aircraft.

“We have been talking that we don’t want airlines with two aircraft. We want airlines with 30 aircraft and it is doable. We have been talking about again and again.

Me alone syndrome in Nigeria has been the challenge and this me alone, die alone will not help the sector. We need machinery that will bring these airlines together. That would make the country to be proud of two, three strong airlines in the matter of speaking.”


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