Following the suspension of operation by two airlines, Aero Contractors and First Nation, the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), has urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the aviation sector.
Aero and First Nation airlines suspended scheduled operation on Thursday in the face of current economic situation and bowing to pressure of harsh operational environment.
However, while Aero claimed the decision was part of its strategic business realignment to reposition the airline and return it to the part of profitability, sending 1,400 workers on indefinite leave without paying them the three months salaries and other entitlements owed them, First Nation said it was undergoing maintenance on A319 fleet until September 15, 2016.
The national president of NANTA, Bernard Bankole told journalists at a breakfast meeting on Friday that the development was a crisis in the aviation sector, describing it as “a tragedy,” insisting that government must not wait for it to happen to other airlines before declaring a state of emergency in the industry.
“What is happening in the aviation industry is an eye sore and alarming. It calls for a state of emergency in the aviation industry. We do not have to let the industry collapse before we call a state of emergency. The industry is nose diving every day. The Federal Government must take action immediately,” he said.
Indicating that Nigerian airlines are now considering relocating to Ghana, the NANTA boss lamented that while other countries are growing their aviation sectors, with shopping malls and super markets springing up at their airports, the Nigerian aviation sector keep nose diving.
He also said that foreign airlines are planning to fly from Ghana to pick passengers in Nigeria and giving all the business to Ghana, which is currently working to establish a national carrier.
“These airlines prefer Ghana because they are comfortable with the favourable working environment provided by the Ghanian authorities. These are the reasons why state of emergency must be declared in the Nigerian aviation industry,” he insisted.
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