National Confab rejects plans for new national carrier

Members of the National Conference have voted against any plan to either revive the defunct Nigeria Airways or set up a new national carrier.

The delegates arrived at this position while considering the report of the Committee on Transport during their sitting in Abuja on Tuesday.

An amendment had been proposed by some delegates to the committee’s report that the defunct airline should either be revived or a new one be established as its replacement.

While debating the motion for the revival of the defunct airways, a delegate advised his colleagues against voting for its revival.

The delegate said that the defunct Nigeria Airways was indebted to many organisations and individuals locally and internationally, adding that its revival or establishment of a new national carrier under a new name would give such organisations the legal platform to either institute law suits or confiscate its planes and other assets.

Besides, it was further argued that the government might not be able to manage the new airline and that the factors responsible for its collapse were capable of recurring.

The conference, however, accepted the recommendation that foreign airlines should be encouraged to employ Nigerian pilots and other workers as the number of unemployed qualified citizens in the sector was huge compared to the burgeoning number of their foreign counterparts.

The conference said the government should ensure the urgent construction of perimeter roads and fences around the nation’s airports so as to enhance security and prevent incidents of stray animals colliding with aircraft on the runways.

It was also resolved that the abandoned Onitsha Cargo Airport in Anambra State should be completed to enhance commercial activities in the Southeast.

In addition, the conference urged the government to as a matter of urgency complete the National Hanger Project at the Uyo Airport in Akwa Ibom State so that it would serve as a repair and maintenance hub for airline operators in the country.

The delegates also voted in support of an amendment that all major international airways be linked with the railways to ease the movement of travellers.

The committee had recommended the complete overhaul of the nation’s transport sector to meet the demands of the new world economic order.

The committee, which is headed by Senator Musa Abebe, also recommended more efficient use of the national waterways and dredging of some rivers in the country.

According to the report, transportation can be efficient when it is integrated and driven by intermodal frameworks, as the sole utilisation of some modes of transportation can become more retrogressive than progressive.

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