Aviation Expert Berates Minister On Foreign Airlines Ultimatum


A Nigerian aviation expert and analyst, retired Group Captain, Mr. John Ojikutu, has slammed the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, over her 30-day ultimatum to foreign airlines, saying “you cannot regulate a market you do not control”.

The Minister of Aviation early this week ordered foreign airlines, especially British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which charge higher fares in Nigeria, far above other African countries, to crash their prices or be booted out.

Ojikutu, who is the Managing Director, Centurion Safety Consult, said that the minister’s threats are inconsequential in a market where there is no competition.

Ojikutu, who was a guest on a morning programme on Television Continental, argued that the minister needs good advisers to understand that flight fares are determined by market forces and a cavalcade of factors, including business risk, security and insurance.

He said Nigerian airlines are weak, and as such, need to merge to compete with foreign airlines.

“Capacity, business risk, security, insurance policy or competition are some of the factors that determine price,” he told Yori Folarin, the anchor’s programme. He also said that the disparity in prices in British Airways is only on Business or First Class which are generally flown by the elite such as ministers, government officials and business executives.

“The minister and other government officials have a choice,” he said.

Related News

He argued that the risk of doing business in Nigeria is higher than other West African countries where fares are cheaper.

When challenged on the disparity between Nigeria and Ghana, two west African countries, Ojikutu said: “We must also look at the insurance policy charged in Ghana.”

Callers to the programme advised the minister to focus on establishing a new national carrier for Nigeria to stimulate competition and focus on safety and the country’s dilapidated aviation facilities.

Nigeria Airways, Nigerian national carrier was mismanaged, with its assets either stolen or sold at give away prices and as a result Nigerians now depend mostly on foreign airlines for air travels.

Government officials regularly fly to the United Kingdom with a cornucopia of aides and family members for either holiday, medical treatment or on courses, most times, on Business Class. They are the ones affected by the current price disparity.

Meanwhile, as the minister’s deadline expires in 27 days, British authorities have promised retaliation if the threat is carried out.

Load more