Nigerian aviation unions want new national carrier

The Federal Government must establish a new national carrier, if it hopes to make Nigeria the hub of air travel in West Africa, two aviation unions have said.
The now defunct Nigrerian Airways during its "days of glory".The airline,Nigeria's flag carrier,ceased operations in 2003
The unions, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, and National Union of Air Transport Employees, argued that the government might not be able to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top 20 economies by 2020 without replacing the liquidated national carrier, Nigeria Airways.

The National President, ATSSSAN, Mr. Benjamin Okewu, and his counterpart at NUATE, Mrs. Safiyanu Mohammed, made the submission while fielding questions from journalists in Lagos on Monday. The duo also said that the government needed to pay the final entitlements of former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways.

He said that the recent happenings in the country made the need for a new national carrier imperative. Okewu specifically cited the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission to airlift the printed electoral materials into the country recently, which led to the postponement of the elections two weeks ago.

He also recalled the trouble the country went through before it could evacuate stranded Nigerians in Libya and Cote d’ Ivoire in the wake of their crises.

He said, “A national carrier is important because these issues will never happen when we have a national carrier no matter the explanation given. If we have had a national carrier, it does not take five minutes for a decision to be taken to get the INEC materials back to Nigeria.

“This is what you face when people take decisions that are anti-people, their personal and business interest as against public interest.”

Okewu noted that the absence of a national carrier had led to the dearth of aviation professionals in the country.
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