Perspectives on Nigeria Air

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We do not have complete information on the business case for, Nigeria Air.


  • let us assume (until we have information), that there is a strong business case, for Nigeria Air; and that Nigeria Air is not just motivated by the ‘desire to have’ a national carrier.
  • let us also assume that:
  • Nigeria Air, would attract the right private partners that would invest in suitable equipment; enable access to local, regional and global markets; and bring technical and managerial skills that can be transferred to Nigerians;
  • Nigeria Air, has been integrated into local value chains: human capital development and the supply of materials, to sustain pipelines of co-production of goods and services in Nigeria;
  • Nigeria Air, is integrated into developing domestic air routes to build capacity (and develop the Nigerian Aerospace), linked to domestic tourism that can contribute to transforming some of our cities into regional and international transportation and financial hubs; and opening up Nigeria for trade;
  • Nigeria Air, is integrated into attracting the right investments in appropriate infrastructure and technology for airport terminals, security, safety and other operational requirements to handle luggage, cargo and human traffic, for destination and transit, efficiently and effectively;
  • Nigeria Air, is integrated into the rest of the Nigerian economy to create decent tax-paying jobs to support social mobility and to steadily increase the number of Nigerian air travellers;
  • the alleged 5% equity in Nigeria Air, by the Nigerian government is not $300 million. That instead, the equity of the Nigerian government would be part financial and part non-financial investments. And that the Nigerian government would fulfil its related obligations for clarity and certainty;
  • there will be no involvement and interference of the Nigerian government or its agents, in the management of Nigeria Air, other than the enforcement of regulatory compliance with high standards and best practice;
  • Nigeria Air, will be the preferred airline for public servants, given availability of routes, seats and fares. That the airline would not be abused by public servants, family and friends; and that the Nigerian government would use Nigeria Air, during national emergencies; and
  • Nigeria Air, has a realistic plan and that the company would breakeven in about 5 to 10 years; and subsequently return on investment.

But, even if all of the above were to be true, it would still be a missed opportunity by the Nigerian government, not to have used the opportunity to promote national unity, and to educate, inspire and energise Nigerians to rally behind Nigeria Air. Imagine the social gains (re: national unity and inspiration; feel good and patriotism) in addition, that Nigeria Air, would return, if the policy and delivery process was different.

It is the creative ways of organising Nigerians around and behind our common interests to unite us that is constantly missing in the way that we currently lead, govern and make policies. Every government policy should be about Nigerians and society, how to make life better for ordinary Nigerians. This is what ‘Progressive’, means.

Evaluating the viability of Nigeria Air, (as it should be for any other public policy) from conception to development and delivery in the short to long term, should always be subjected to rigorous interrogation. On how Nigerians and Nigeria would benefit and what would be the “opportunity cost” of government policies and investments to Nigerians. This way of thinking and acting would inform policy choices and delivery, for a better Nigeria.

So, here is how the government run by Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) would approach the prospects in our Civil Aviation industry, differently:

  1. We will take a strategic view of Civil Aviation within the transportation value chain, guided by data (demographic, socioeconomic, air-traffic, financial, safety, security and industry performance) in partnership with the private sector, institutions and Nigerians (as stakeholders).
  2. We will identify and fix the structural and systemic issues (including regulatory and process compliance; infrastructure gaps; etc.) limiting the performance of Civil Aviation in Nigeria, as catalytic to inclusive economic growth.
  3. We will forge long term strategic partnerships with local and international Civil Aviation related businesses; and multilateral bodies in Civil Aviation, for the right technology, financing and human talents to upgrade selected airport terminals in zones; and significantly improve security, safety and operations, preparatory to the emergence of Nigeria Air, to complement and link domestic routes to the rest of Africa and the world.
  4. We will work across-government(s) in Nigeria and Africa, and with the private sector to organise and develop tourism; and promote free and fair trade, to increase and sustain air travel.
  5. We will pitch a long term plan (with the support of the Federal Legislature and State governments) to existing airlines in Nigeria to invest in and co-own the National Carrier. This will encourage co-production in Civil Aviation as a strategic sector for economic growth.
  6. We will partner with investors and stakeholders to design and produce a National Carrier Reality Television Programme to unite and inspire Nigerians to invest their talents, creativity, expectations and passion in the national carrier.

An outline of the National Carrier Reality Television Programme

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The programme would involve young Nigerians especially in secondary schools and universities, creative and entertainment industry (music and movie stars, comedians, television presenters, branding and graphic artists, etc.), footballers, software engineers & developers, telecommunications companies, television stations, banks, fast moving consumer goods companies and other corporate sponsors.

Together, we would co-produce and enjoy a reality television programme for the greater good of inspiring passion in our country and uniting us behind a common goal and national identity, as we share in translating the hard part of conceptualising the national carrier, into launching and patronising a successful airline, that would provide high quality service to all of its customers.

Through the national carrier reality television programme, expert panellists would constructively critique but facilitate Nigerians to select 3 to 5 proposed name finalists (supported by good and creative thinking), from which the preferred name of the national carrier would emerge.

Through the national carrier reality television programme, expert panellists would constructively critique but facilitate Nigerians to select 3 to 5 proposed logo finalists (supported by good and creative thinking), from which the preferred logo for the national carrier would emerge.

As the national carrier reality television programme would be organised and promoted for good cause/public good, corporate participants, entertainers and artists, would be making social investments and accessing a national platform to expose their brands in return. Young Nigerian contestants and the participating public would have the opportunity to be patriotic, win a prize and enjoy the feeling of being an important part of building, believing and identifying with our own national carrier.

The national carrier reality television programme would ‘self-fund’. It would therefore be cost neutral to the Nigerian government. While realising the benefits of more creative name and logo with instant customer recognition in Nigeria and internationally. It would have the positivity of about 195 million Nigerians (at home and abroad) rooting for and propelling the national carrier successfully forward.

Nigeria and investors in the national carrier would have the supply chain of the national carrier localised in Nigeria. As a symbol for national unity and identity. Nigeria and investors would have saved the $600,000.00 (NGN215,411,000.00 at today’s exchange rates) that was allegedly paid to a company in Bahrain to design the Nigeria Air, logo. The “opportunity cost” of the current approach are for example, the classrooms, tuition, health facilities, training and the many ordinary Nigerians that would have benefited from the investment forgone.

Perhaps the more important opportunity costs are, national unity and inspiration, enterprise, patriotism and uplifting the mood of the nation in current times of huge challenges. The “real cost” of lack of creativity in governance and public investment decisions for the 4 years of a ‘typical government in Nigeria’ is unimaginable. It is the exact reason why we are where we are.

Just imagine that!  Stand with Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), #thedifference.

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ANN Strategy and Public Enlightenment Unit 

Good governance │ Uniting Nigerians │ Investing in Nigerians │ Building Nigeria

Article by David Kieghe