Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON , Captain Nogie Meggison has cautioned that until Nigeria establishes an aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul , MRO, facility in the country the aviation sector will not optimize the inherent potential and benefits of the sector.
Speaking in an interview in Lagos , Capt Meggisson, who is also the President of JedAir, said setting up an aircraft maintenance facility in the country will assist to train the horde of aviation professionals in the country including aircraft engineers. He said the unfavourable government policy of granting multiple entry points to foreign carriers into Nigeria has contributed to the stunted growth of indigenous airlines.
He further noted that the unfriendly business environment where operators grapple with multiple charges has not helped the process that would lead to private sector players showing interest in setting up aircraft repair centres. He believes if some of the intervention fund given by government were channeled into the establishment of aircraft repairs facility, the industry would have made some progress.
According to him merely setting up a national carrier will not alone step up the development of the sector, as aircraft MROs have the capacity to create thousands of jobs and retain huge sums of money in the country that indigenous carriers spent on the repairs of their aircraft oversees.
â€œI donâ€™t think the national carrier is the issue. Our policies are the issue. We had a national carrier in the defunct Nigeria Airways. One of the main issue was not being able to pay for its maintenance bills of airplanes scattered all over the world including Brazil, Ireland, Germany, France, USA, and Israel,â€.
â€œIf you have a national carrier and you donâ€™t exercise the cabotage law or the Fifth Freedom Right of the Chicago Convention of 1945, we are putting water down the drain. If you have a national carrier and you donâ€™t have MRO, you are putting water down the drain.
Those intervention funds did not filter down to the aviation sector. The last one of N350 billion to the aviation and power sectors; the one for aviation actually went to the banks. It did not come to aviation, and as far as the President is concerned, he would be thinking that it came to aviation because they called it aviation intervention fund.â€