Mr Basil Agboarumi, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Sahco Plc.
Those yawning to join the league of Indigenous operators of airlines have been advised to conduct a very thorough feasibility study on the industry before entry. While those already prospecting have been urged to build a fleet of equipment most suitable for the short-haul flights on the domestic routes, so as to stave off the high consumption of aviation fuel, its prohibitive cost, and the intermittent maintenance which, acquisition and deployment of wrong equipment will compel their owners to operate unprofitably.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, MD/CEO, SAHCO Plc., Mr Basil Agboarumi, gave a gentle and friendly counsel in a chat on how the entire aviation supply chain could survive now and in the years after the ravaging effect of covid-19.
Mr Agboarumi who has spent about three decades in the aviation industry urged both the new entrants and the prospecting ones to understudy those succeeding in short-haul operations in other climes in Europe and in the US, with a view to borrowing good concepts that have made them thrive for decades.
He noted that even when the right equipment is deployed, Jet A1 takes more of the costs in the total overhead charge in airline operations, so one can imagine an operator with equipment which when it was manufactured, low fuel consumption was not considered or equipment meant for the long haul before its operators could experience economic of scales on fuel consumption, and if such aircraft is now deployed on the route of an hour or forty-five minutes flight, the business will obviously not be economical to operate.
The Sahco helmsman described as a mismatch when equipment that performs optimally on long haul is deployed on the short-haul flights. He also noted that such mismatch often has an adverse effect on the equipment and the attendant cost on maintenance and fuel which will in-turn adversely affect the airline’s balance sheet no matter how fantastic the business plan may be.
He, however, commended the domestic operators for their new consciousness of route cultivation which has provided more links on the domestic routes, thus diminishing the cutthroat competition and the usual hustling on the erstwhile golden triangle of Lagos-Abuja-Port Harcourt/Kano-Lagos routes.
He lauded those airlines that could be described as pathfinders for providing connectivity on more routes such as Ibadan, Ilorin, Akure, Benin, Yola, Maiduguri, Owerri, Enugu, among others, and of which he said, would ultimately inspire more people to abandon the motor garages for the airports which will be a plus for aviation.
He, however, noted that the abysmal ratio of the country’s population to air travellers would also be improved by the routes connectivity being cultivated by the domestic operators which, after having its mastery, the service could be extended to the west coast of Africa and in the spirit of Single Africa Air Travel Market, SAATM, and will enable our airlines to become strong players in the continent.
The Sahco MD, a PR guru who is also savvy in corporate management, expressed optimism that when full air travel business bounces back after the coronavirus scourge must have been totally eliminated on the surface of the earth, the industry will run on a fresh experience that will provide the much needed shot in the arm to all the facets of air travels management.