Local Airlines under threat of extinction

Corruption, political interference, bad management decisions, cronyism, tough working environment  and so many other factors have made it almost impossible for local airlines to survive the turbulence that the local aviation industry have run into. Apart from the fact that many of them are struggling with low start up capital and therefore manages to just beat the minimal requirement for airline operational takeoff, so much epileptic services are traceable to the low boarding etiquette by ground handling staff.

For example, Aerocontractors started as an airline servicing the rigs and were the airline of choice when they entered into full blown local operations. That is until the family of Cecilia  Ibru took over, and the fortune begins to nosedive. Currently they are reeling under the heavy debt and AMCON has taken over the company. As part of the problem, the person at the helm was the son of the former Banking mogul.

This is the general trend.Insider and filial abuse is very rampant. In fact, this magazine has it on good authority that a local airline boss, which has passengers booked for flights, allowed the son to commandeer an aircraft to a party to neighboring Ghana. Passengers were stranded because of this and there was nothing any body could do about it.

Another issue is the issue of unnecessary expansion projects when they have not maximized the routes they already have. This is due to undue competition and to appear to have a marketing edge over other airlines an places much strain on the airline and pilots. It also results in some very no-viable route which they are forced to ply for political reasons.Sometimes they may open up routes they may never ply. A typical example is the opening of the Lagos-Abidjan route that never took off,while the offices built there with much fanfare but never used. To conserve cost, staff recruitment are minimal, and staff are poorly paid. Some pilots, due to the need for money, are forced to do more hours at a stretch than was internationally recommended, thereby putting them under mental stress. The Dana air line crash near iju was traced to pilot error, probably due to fatigue.

And this has resulted in the issue of paying charges to regulatory agencies. Some airlines, year in year out, may not pay the regulatory agencies, to the extent that some of the agencies have to resort to debt collection agencies for help. Even at that, they get no where because of the big political names that are associated with these airlines. Thus the regulatory agencies never get to take their debtors to court because they directors of such agencies know that those who have interests in the airline can pull political strings that could throw them into the labour market.

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