From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Chairman of Nigeria domestic carrier, Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema has condemned the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr, Akinwunmi Adesina for labelling African airlines as poorly managed affirming that he Adesina was ill-informed about the states of the airlines on the continent.
Mr. Onyema also decried the excessive charges and taxes imposed on African airlines by the continent’s governments and organisations.
He spoke on the sideline in Abuja at the World Aviation Forum (WAF) organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) where he warned that high charges and taxes on operating airlines in the continent would cripple carriers in Africa.
He lamented that operators on the continent especially airlines in Nigeria pay spurious taxes and charges to government agencies, State Governments and organisations, stressing that unlike in other parts of the world where their airlines were given leeway to boost their operations, the reverse was the case in the country.
He lamented that most of government officials were unfriendly with private investors in the country, saying that rather than helping businesses to grow, they contribute to their early demise by their actions.
On a paper presentation at the forum by Adesina, which alleged that African airlines were poorly maintained, Onyema, disagreed with the AfDB’s helmsman’s position.
Rather, he emphasised that the continent’s carriers especially airlines in Nigeria were over-regulated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and insisted they could compete with any airline in the world.
He explained that such comments affected insurance premiums paid by African airlines, which he said were having negative impacts on their performances and financial resources.
He posited that on the average, Nigerian airlines pay at least $2.8m for C-Checks of aircraft while their competitors could carry out such maintenances for a mere $500, 000, adding that insurance premiums paid on aircraft is quadruple of what legacy airlines pay around the world.
Onyema insisted that all Nigerian airlines were as safe as their counterparts in Europe and America despite the harsh operating environment in the country.