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He said that rather than conduct “a forced marriage” for the airlines, the government should remove customs duties on any imported aircraft parts.
Tukur explained that it would be wrong for the government to merge the existing airlines by fiat, stressing that “it is the responsibility of the airlines to discuss how they can come together to boost flight operations.”
He also noted that the airlines had different backgrounds, which would make the merger option for them to fail and also challenged the chief executive officers of the airlines to seek partnership with foreign airlines operating into the country if they wanted to remain in business.
He said, “It is the responsibility of the different airline managements to plane their merger. Aviation is not like the banking sector. All the existing airlines today are owned by private investors with different backgrounds.
“For instance, if you force IRS and Chanchangi airlines to merge today, it is not going to work, but what the airlines can do is to sit down and discuss how they can come together in their operations, and unfortunately, the economic meltdown is affecting most of the airlines just like any other business in the world.
“The merger option should be a voluntary one. Also, the airline executives should stop believing that the government will provide succour for them. They should look for partners abroad like having interlining with some of the foreign airlines operating into Nigeria thereby strengthening their operations. We are a Category One nation and we should be able to explore that option.”
On the call for customs duty waivers for the airlines, Tukur decried that it was only in Nigeria that the airlines pay for customs duties on imported aircraft parts.