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Africa: NCAA DG task Nigerian domestic airlines operators on merger, collaboration

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Nigerian Civil Aviation

The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu has urged domestic airline operators in the country to collaborate and ponder on merger among carriers to improve service delivery for the mutual benefit of the passengers.

Nuhu who was speaking the 27th Annual Conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondence (LAAC) held at the Providence Hotel, GRA Ikeja with the theme: “Aviation Industry: Changing Times, Changing Strategies,” said airline operators in the sector should jettison the idea of working in silos and embrace collaboration to avoid becoming more fragmented and less competitive.

According to him, the global aviation industry thrives on collaboration to further enhance their service delivery to their customers and competitive in the aviation sector.

The NCAA boss commended the airline operators for initiating ‘Spring Alliance’, an initiative by carriers to mutually support one another’s operations.

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“For a fact, global airline industry is one of the most competitive industries. Therefore, to effective tap into its huge market opportunity, cooperative behaviour and alliances among airlines became inevitable as it is prevalent in other climes. In actual fact, the first large alliance began in 1989 with large-scale code sharing between Northwest Airlines and KLM. As of now, there are three (3) global airline alliances operating in the air travel industry, namely: Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and Oneworld. Members of SkyTeam are Air France-KLM, Delta Virgin Atlantic; Under Oneworld we have American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia; and under Star Alliance, which is world’s largest global airline alliance, we have United Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa.

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“The airline industry in Nigeria, which currently contributed over $1.7 billion as well as supports over 240,000 jobs directly and indirectly, transformed to a more competitive market following its deregulation for a couple of decades ago. Taking a cue from legendary global alliances, sometime in 2022, there was also a revolutionary initiative in the industry when about six of our operators signed a pact tagged the ‘Spring Alliance’ to mutually support one another’s operations and improve service delivery for the mutual benefit of the passengers and the airlines alike.

“Even though the ‘Spring Alliance’ was Nigerian initiative, there is window for other like-minded airlines around the world to key into the scheme. Efficiency is the barometer for success in the industry as airlines’ On-Time-Performance (OTP) is an indispensable condition. Without any iota of doubt, such landmark passenger-centric initiative will bring about sustainability and stability of airlines operations in terms of connectivity, low capacity and enhancement of seamless facilitation, thereby preventing flight delays and cancellations. Even though the phenomenon of delays is global, we are poised to minimize the number of delays to the simplest minimum.

“Synergy, collaboration, cooperation or merger is the rule of the game. I want to encourage Nigerian airlines to avoid I-want-to-do-it-alone as reflected in their lone-wolf operational tactic. While I want to appreciate our operators for a job well done in terms of the spirit and the impact, we urge airlines to partner with their willing foreign counterparts through code sharing in developing Nigeria’s aviation industry. I remember that at a phase Air France interlined with Aero Contractors.

“By nature and approach, we should manifestly embrace collaboration and exhibit sustained commitment lest average Nigerian carriers become ever more fragmented and less competitive with mere individual identities”.

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