An aviation expert cum investor, Mr Herbert Odika, has advised local airliners to dispose their large aircraft, Boeing 737s and go for smaller planes in order to cut much of their running cost and return to profitable ventures.
Chief executive of FMC Aviation Services Limited, Odika in an interaction with some aviation journalists said to revive the airline business in the country, operators should do away with all types of Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleet and competitive ego and form alliance for maximum utilisation and profitable ventures.
He explained that the choice of B737 by airline operators in the country was responsible for the high rate of mortality of airline businesses in Nigeria.
Odika, who is a former regional manager at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Limited NAHCO, explained that B737 used for an hour flight by airlines in the country were also used by Kenya, Egypt and Ethiopia airlines for between five and half hours flights while some have over seven hours resistance.
He noted that in the days of Nigerian Airways, the Fokker aircraft were used for domestic operations while the Boeing aircraft were used for regional flights.
“The B737 is not a domestic aircraft because the charges, costs of running 737, the fuel cost for a returning flight is running near half a million naira. The industry is not making profit because of the aircraft type we are using for domestic flights,” he said.
He however described the B737 as a wonderful aircraft, but said it has high maintenance cost compared to other aircraft types.
He advised airlines operators to seek alternative to Boeing aircraft if they were to remain in business adding that the cost factor of maintaining a 737 in the country was not cheap hence the business was failing.
Odika explained that he Bombader aircraft was very easy and cost effective in terms of maintenance.
“Get prop jets; they are very safe. We can’t afford to keep B737 in the air,” he noted.
On the issue of pilots unemployment, he said a lot of pilots struggles in the country to get job because they lack the flying hours required for employment and advised government to train these pilots through giving airlines tax relief.
Source : Leadership