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FG should focus on flag carriers, not national airline, says Allen Onyema

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Allen Onyema, Air Peace chief executive officer (CEO), has
faulted the push for a national carrier, describing the plan as a “moribund


Onyema spoke on Thursday during an interview on Channels


The CEO said the country does not need a national airline
owing to the difficulties of running such a business.


“Does Nigeria actually need a national carrier? It’s an
emphatic no,” he said.


 “The national carrier
thing connotes government ownership. The government has no business doing the
business of commercial airline operations.


“The national carrier thing is a moribund idea that has been
jettisoned several decades ago by countries.”


According to Onyema, several airlines that bear country
names are just “flag carriers” and are not owned by nations as many may have


 “In the olden days,
they used to be [owned by governments] but they are all divested. They are all
flag carriers,” he said.


“Why is my country going backwards? In 2023, talking about
national carrier?”


Onyema said he believes the few African countries with
national carriers are those “that cannot afford business entrepreneurs with the
right funding.


In May this year, the ministry of aviation, under Hadi
Sirika, former minister, unveiled Nigeria Air — three days before the end of
the administration.


However, the move steered several reactions and was enmeshed
in controversy.


Two months after President Bola Tinubu took over power, the
federal government announced that the project was suspended.


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