BEVERLY HILLS, May 02, (THEWILL) – For local airlines to survive and keep afloat in their flight operations, there is need for the Federal Government to set up aircraft leasing company, up to the tune of N500 billion, that will help to strengthen the airlines in the country.
Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, the Chairman, West Link Airlines who gave the advice recently pointed out that it, is not a good situation whereby airlines will be looking for dollars to pay for their lease, adding that local airlines operate in Naira and that they should also pay in Naira.
Speaking during a chat with exco of Leaque of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC), Capt Mshelia said “We recommended that N500 billion should be set aside by government in 2013, as a leasing company for local operators to access and bring their planes in” .
“The lessor is supposed to be Nigerian leasing company, so we will be paying here; all the income will be domiciled here and it will help to strengthen our naira. It will be only parts and training that we maybe worrying about. If we intensify our things properly, we can even have our trainings reduced to Nigeria as we have all the airplanes simulators here”, the pilot emphasised.
Explaining further, Capt Mshelia lamented that some African countries have been able to set up such facilities simply because Nigeria has not put its house in order.
He noted that such facilities, which is now domiciled in one of the East African countries should have been set up here in the country because Nigeria is where the market is.
Citing example with himself, Mshelia stated that he has also been trying to get land for his Flying School here in Nigeria, all to no avail.
“Since five years I have applied, I don’t have the land. So, what do I do? I will be compelled to go back to Ghana. And that is exactly the option I am looking at now. I went through Phase 3, submitted all the manuals. It is remaining to get a place and prepare for the demonstration, I have not been able to get that. The NCAA cannot do anything, it is neither their fault nor mine. It is the fault of the policy; we don’t want to grow our own things. That is why these deliberate policies are in place”, he said.
Corroborating Capt Mshelia, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Musa Nuhu, has equally observed that the issue of aircraft lease has remain one of the major challenges to airlines in the country.
Capt Nuhu had earlier, opined that Nigerian airlines are not really benefiting from the Capetowm Convention decades after adoption.
Concluded in Cape Town on 16 November 2001, the primary aim of the Convention and the Protocol is to resolve the problem of obtaining certain and opposable rights to high-value aviation assets, namely airframes, aircraft engines and helicopters which, by their nature, have no fixed location.
Explaining why Nigerian airlines are not benefiting from the agreements, Capt Nuhu said “Nigeria is not benefiting very well because we have cases where people go and lease aircraft and come to Nigeria. They don’t pay and they don’t want to release the aircraft. So it creates a bad reputation for the Nigerian market”.
“That is why I tell you, when you do things. It is not one person. You are damaging the reputation of the country. So when you go now and you want to lease aircraft, they will say that when the aircraft is due to return, you will go and bring one court injunction and you damage the reputation of the whole country. It is damaging. Since II came, I have successfully dealt with three cases with Capetown Convention”, Nuhu said.