The Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr Mathew Pwajok, says lack of proper management skills and family sentiments are responsible for the failure of the airline business in the past.
Pwajok made this known when he featured at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum on Sunday in Abuja.
According to him, many factors are responsible for the failure of airline business in the country in previous years which are now being corrected.
He said managerial training was core to the successful running of the business but most people that went into the business then lacked the ability to manage an organisation.
“The ability to access managerial training in the aviation sector was not available. You cannot point out the number of institutions that are doing aviation management until very recently.
“So personally, I believe that the challenges that most airlines had in the past were lack of managerial capacity, they can be professional pilots but that doesn’t mean that they are good managers.
“Because you are managing resources, equipment, personnel and that is a completely different field entirely from what they were doing, so that was lacking in a lot of the airlines.
“Secondly, the ownership of such airlines was personality-centered, the owner takes the business as a personal enterprise and brings in family members whether qualified or not with sentiment and emotions,” he said.
Pwajok described aviation as a critical and sensitive business and did not give room for sentiments because of its low marginal profit hence the collapse of many such businesses in time past.
“People are beginning to separate personality from business and run the business professionally and this is why we are seeing some being successful now.
“Dangote is a conglomerate and very successful; he has employed people from all around the world and doesn’t give a damn who you are, and you can’t apply different rules for different people in the same organisation because it will collapse.
“There must be objectivity, clear distinction between you as a person and your business, though it is your own business you should be able to run it and remove sentiment from it and you will succeed.”
The NAMA boss explained that another cause for the failure of first-generation airlines in the country was the lack of fleets by the airlines, an issue with an only aircraft that could ground the entire airline.
He said the cost of maintenance of the aircraft abroad, training pilots and engineers; all in millions of dollars were enormous.
“Added to that is that most operators are folding up because of poor financial management skills.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority will not allow you to fly an aircraft that requires maintenance or airworthiness: then gradually you see yourself running completely out of business.
“And the aircraft is on the ground also pays charges because the airport authority will collect parking fees. So you find out that it is not just sitting by, but also accumulating costs for you.
“So that is basically some of the reasons why we had failures but we can see to large extent airlines are beginning to pickup,” Pwajok said.