United and Emirates (evening flight) Airlines bids farewell to the Nigerian sky after their last flight today 30th June, 2016.
In one instance, the exit of these two world class airlines will definitely lead to loss of jobs both directly and indirectly.
In another instance, this exit would have been Nigeria's gain had it been we did not "stole" the wings off Nigerian Airways till it became a flightless bird six feet beneath the earth from 22,000 feet above sea level. It would only take a miracle to survive a fall from such a height.
13 years after the demise of Nigerian Airways, the feet of it's interred body still sticks out. A sign that it's remain refused to be ushered into gentle breeze of glory. The ghost is what is currently haunting our aviation sector.
At the pinnacle of it's operations, the asset of Nigerian Airways Limited was valued at a little over $6B all over the world. And the airline was flying to all continents with quality service at an affordable price.
The airline became a cesspit of monumental corruption when government officials took charge of it's administration. It got worst when free tickets were given to wives and concubines of government officials. Flight would be delayed for one minister held up at his girlfriend's birthday, prostitutes and pimps of ministers and airline's staffs were employed as air hostesses and aviation staffs. These among other pesky infractions killed Nigerian Airways.
With 10,000 staff strength and 32 fleet of aircraft as at 1979, Nigerian Airways was the pride of our nation back then not even our current quasi - national carrier (Arik Air) compares to it.
By 1999, the Nigerian Airways had only one serviceable aircraft left in it's fleet. By this time it had become Nigerian Airweighs, weighed down by it's debt burden.
Over N6 billion was stolen between 1993 and 1999 under the nose of two managing directors of the airline. This approximated figure is extracted from the report of the Justice Nwazota-led Commission of Inquiry that was set up shortly before the death of late President Musa Yar’Adua.
The Nigerian Airways was savagely raped like an orphan till the last straw that broke it's camel back in 2003 when # 25B mysteriously took flight from the airlines till.
Even at this point Nigerian Airways assets still far outweighs it's liabilities.
One then wonder why OBJ sold it off under the guise of "pocketization" oops! Privatization when he could have simply partnered with world class airlines like British Airways. Such arrangements is not strange in aviation as was recently witnessed between Alitalia and Etihad. Alitalia conceded some of their not so vibrant routes to Etihad. While the bailout partnership between Airfrance - KLM is also a good example.
Today, tiny countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopa, etc have a thriving national carrier. Ki lo ti wa je ni Nigeria? Rather than the senseless liquidity of Nigeria Airways, it would have partnered with some of these airlines exiting the Nigerian route on the premise of non repatriation of funds made on ticket sale. NAL would have been exchanging it's ticket sale money in those countries with partner airlines while the partner airlines would do same with NAL here in Nigeria. That way the FOREX policy won't force airlines to close business the way they are seen to be doing now, and it would be a win win situation.