Comrade Olayinka Abioye is a global citizen, aviator, consultant, humanist and unionist but now in private practice. He spoke with Transportation Plus Magazine in this interview, read the excerpt:
What is your overall assessment of the Nigeria Aviation sector performance in the year 2021?
For year 2021, first I want to glorify God for His mercies over our nation. Given our population and diversity, and considering the avoidable affliction that had befallen us, Nigeria aviation sector performed incredibly well last year. We must pat ourselves at the back for these accomplishments though we ought to have done better.
Do you think the industry fared well/ better in 2021 compared to previous years?
Recording zero civil aviation accident can be described as the best of all, not to acknowledge new entrant Airlines into the sector. One can modestly state that coming out of the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic which dropped on us like a bomb in 2020, leading to the closure of our airspace/airports, and managing to remain afloat by companies and airlines can be describes as breathtaking if you understand our lackadaisical attitude to almost everything. We did better in 2021 than previous years.
What is your expectations for the industry in 2022?
We have also started on a good note this New Year and I do hope we shall strive to do better considering the avalanche of challenges we observed and had noted for necessary action this year. You must also bear in mind that the six point agenda of the Honorable Minister of Aviation shall become manifest this year, hopefully starting with the repackaging of our attempt to float a new national carrier. Mistakes made in the past shall be corrected by our collective resolve and we shall be happy about the outcome later.
What do you think should be done better?
Having make many political mistakes and suffered many policy somersaults, I will appeal to my friend, the Minister to toe the line of good reasoning, correct but inclusive leadership, and for the greater good of all Nigerians and especially those aviation enthusiasts and stakeholders, to listen more, learn more and be fully equipped for the resuscitation of those dreams abandoned or aborted and restart again.
What do you think should be done by industry players and even by government to have a better industry in 2022 compare to the previous years?
As a matter of fact, given the privilege of being a member of one of the most robust platforms where issues of aviation growth are constantly but consistently put forward, criticisms freely made without malice and recommendations/suggestions preferred, I have no doubts that we shall do very well this years as all hands shall be on deck to support the government through the Ministry in order to get out of the current quagmire we have found ourselves. You can imagined how well our sister nations Aviation is being progressively run. Take a trip to Ghana and see commitment, transparency, and tenacity of purposes and see what we are doing to ourselves here.
The Minister of Aviation, Sirika said recently that Air Nigeria will kick off operation in April this year, what is your view about the minister assertion?
Public officers sometimes forget that they are servants of the Nigerian people, holding office at our pleasure. Air Nigeria or whatever name called cannot be simplistically said to take off in four months’ time. In the first instance, it was the resolve of the Nigeria people that there should be floated a National Airline belonging to the people of this great nation. We have gracefully adopted this.
What do you think should be done for the airline to have smooth operation?
How did we get the name Air Nigeria? Was it by fiat or by consultation? Did we approve of such a name considering both legal and social angle issues associated with Air Nigeria? If the Federal government will hold only 5% equity in the airline, why is the minority holder doing all the biddings without inputs from the Nigerian people through aviation enthusiasts, stakeholders, technocrats, investors? At what time are these groups going to be allowed into the thinking of government, to offer themselves as prospective investors? How long does it take the NCAA to process approvals for Airline Operating Certificate and other related matters? Can this be accomplished within four months as being speculated by the Minister? Can we in all honesty accept political statements of our Honourable Minister any longer, since he has made such statements in th…
The cost of air fare has increased drastically, and it’s biting hard on passengers, what do you think can be done to keep the price stable or reduce it?
Airfares are a subject of the economy and regulated by the NCAA. However, airlines have taken it upon itself to fix prices at it pleases without recourse to the appropriate authority at the expense of their travelling costumers. If care is not taken in this respect, they may be flying their airplanes empty soon.
Your final remark
All in all, I wish our aviation enthusiasts, stakeholders and passengers the very of 2022. I pray that all things being equal but with all precautions taken, there shall be no mishap this year. May our workers reap the fruits of their labours.