The Buhari administration may be considering merging all debtor airlines in the country into a national carrier, capable of serving the West and Central African regions, with Nigeria as the regional aviation hub.
This was part of the recommendation of The Joda committee who advised President Buhari to consider a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement that would involve all airlines currently with AMCON, as part of the Federal Government’s contribution to a national carrier project.
Currently Aero Contractors’ debt stood at over $200 mn (N308 bn), with 60% of its equity already taken over by AMCON, while Arik Air has been in debt to the tune of over $600 mn (N924 bn); IRS Airlines, $55 mn (N84 bn); Chanchangi Airlines, $55 mn (N84 bn), and the now bankrupt Air Nigeria owing about $225.8 mn (N347.7 bn).
The committee recommended the decision be carried out in six months.
The committee said this will increase government revenue from the sector, reduce capital flight, expand the local aviation industry and create more employment opportunities to the people.
Within the target period, the government would undertake the immediate repairs and upgrade of passenger facilities, including air-conditioning systems, luggage conveyor belts, passenger tunnels, to improve customer experience, increase revenue, and improve the safety of travelers, it said.