Oduah, Sirika Killed Aviation Sector – Senator Musa Adede

In Breaking News, Reports

By Jonathan Ugbal

The Chief Executive Officer, CEO of King Airlines, a charter and tour aviation company in Nigeria, Senator Musa Adede on Tuesday in Lagos State accused two former ministers of aviation; Mrs. Stella Oduah and Mallam Hadi Sirika of killing the industry in Nigeria report online Newspaper, Nairametrics.

Mrs. Oduah served as aviation minister from July 2011 until February 2014. She was succeeded by Mr. Osita Chidoka who held sway until May 2015 with Mr. Hadi Sirika served throughout President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

And, Adede, a former Senator representing Cross River North in the fourth National Assembly while addressing industry players at the Quarter Two Brunch Business Meeting organized by the Aviation Round Table (ART) with the theme: “Aviation Reset: Agenda For The New Dispensation,” said Oduah and Sirika via their actions and inactions killed the sector.

“The former Ministers in the sector, especially Oduah, and Sirika who claimed to be captains have killed the sector. Our ministers have sold out in drafting the agreements with foreign airlines and governments,” Adede said, pointing out that the sector needs newer ideas to compete favorably hence the need for the current administration to embark on a reset exercise.

The former lawmaker also condemned the plan by the federal government, especially, the immediate past administration of President Buhari to to reestablish a national carrier. According to him, the idea is no longer in vogue in Nigeria.

Furthermore, Senator Adede charged players and regulators to re-examine themselves through thorough cleaning and policy redirection, especially in achieving goals.

“As it is, there is no unity among the airline operators either scheduled, chartered, or helicopters. They are all working in isolation. The aviation ministry too is not helping the industry to grow. Our airports are very dirty,” he said.

The ART President, Dr. Gabriel Olowo in his address lamented the lack of support from the government for the private players and pointed out that the government cannot exonerate itself from the deaths of past carriers.

Olowo who said the political authority was focused more on infrastructure that is beyond economic repair to the detriment of airlines, also bemoaned the impact of the exchange rate amidst the issue of remittances by foreign airlines.

“Foreign airlines home remittance remains a huge challenge, and will only get worse with the floating dollar exchange rate if not quickly cleared. Airfares will continually soar, reaching all-time high levels. Nigerian airlines remain small and highly fragmented,” he said.

On his part, the lead speaker of the ART and Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema lamented the lopsided information provided by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on cancellations and flight delays which he blamed on VIP movement, poor and inadequate infrastructure, paucity of foreign exchange, fullers, and weather, among others.

Onyema averred that the current government policies were aiding the quick death of domestic operators, and disclosed that Air Peace lost some of its aircraft to 18 bird strike incidents in 2023 alone with two aircraft lost within hours at the Benin Airport.

Onyema, who expressed fear that there may be more bird strikes before the end of the year, said apart from the aircraft being grounded with resources spent, delays by the Nigerian Customs Service in clearing aviation parts were also an issue.

“Whenever we are criticizing the domestic airlines for delays or cancellations, we should try to find out the causes of these delays and cancellations. There were two bird strike incidents at Benin Airport alone in one day.

“Also, just recently, it cost us about $3.2 million to bring a part of one of the engines of our E195-E2 aircraft, which was attacked by birds. The aircraft had to be on the ground for another week because the manufacturers never expected such an incident.”

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