Home Aviation Airline Operator Explains Demise of Nigeria Airways

Airline Operator Explains Demise of Nigeria Airways

by timenews
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…fingers corruption, quota system, structure as factors
…says quota system is killing Nigerian system up till now


More than a decade after the collapse of former Nigerian Carrier, tongues have continued to wag with various reasons presented at different fora and by different stakeholders as to why the Nigeria Airways was liquidated.

While some claimed the staff was responsible others fingered the management in its demise, with a general belief that the Airline was ran aground because it was managed by the government.

Emphasis was that ‘government has no business in business,’ hence, the death of the Carrier some.

However, the Chairman, West Link Airlines, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, in a recent chat with newsmen hinged the demise of the Carrier basically on its structure which was not targeted at profit rather it depended on the government’s annual budget.

He wondered how an airline can have a budget and how the defunct Carrier would survive when every government department at the time leveraged on the structure to enjoy its services with warrant officers.

He said: “First and foremost, I will want to talk on the structure of the Airline before talking about the staff and management.

“Nigeria Airways was not created for profitability the way it was run and the structure it had. The airline had an annual budget. How can the airline have an annual budget?

“The government pays for A, B, C and D checks and others, because the airline had a budget, every government department then flew Nigeria Airways with warrant officers.

“In the military for instance, from Colonel and above, you flew first class and below you get economy. For government establishment, from directorship level, you have first class and the rest is economy.

“That was how the airline was run. It wasn’t meant for profit making. So, how will it survive?

Besides the structure of the Nigeria Airways, Mshelia revealed that the Presidency did not have an aircraft designated to it but disrupted scheduled operations each time it pulled an aircraft from the Airline for use.

“Whenever the Presidency had a function, they will just pull out an aircraft immediately, either for local or international operations.

“There were times the scheduled flights of the airline will just be disrupted midway. That was how even the government contributed to the death of the airline,” he explained.

Continuing, he said the staff and management contributed to the Airline’s death through corruption as all the staffers were helping themselves with the airline, adding that quota system method applied in employing everyone led to a lot of under qualified workers in the Airline.

His words: “Now, how did the staff and management contribute to its death? It is corruption; everybody was helping himself with the airline.

“First, everyone was employed based on quota system. You will begin to get it wrong when you apply the quota system in Aviation.

“Quota system is unique in Nigeria for certain reasons, but we should begin to separate what quota system will be applicable in.

“Only the best should be taken. In the military, I learnt you cannot just employ anybody to join the military; they share it according to state. The military insists that only the best from each state would be taken, but in public sector, it is the one with a godfather that gets the job.

“The management of the airline would employ mediocre in the places they should not be, give people positions above their level and qualifications, thereby demoralising the other staffers who are better qualified than them.

“Also, there were cases in which stations managers were sacked or recalled for not doing the biddings of some people in the government especially when they wanted their non-revenue luggage to be given priority above revenue luggage of passengers.

“Quota system is killing the Nigerian system up till now. I am not against quota system in certain things so that we will have equal presentation, but there are some certain things that will require technical qualifications.

“Dexterity is a gift from God. Those who put the quota system in place looked at the advantages and disadvantages of it and we are supposed to manage and patch it. It had a good intention, but when we start to play politics with it, then, it will continue to work against us.”


Photo caption:

Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, Chairman, West Link Airlines

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