Establishing an MRO is more beneficial than a national airline- Capt. Oladele Ore7 min read
Capt. Oladele Ore, Founder, Aviation Round Table, ART, Now Christened, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, ASRTI
** The Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) hangar in Akwa Ibom/Orom is the best in Africa
** Smart move is to negotiate the acquisition of Ibom Air and turn it into a national airline
** National airline can be managed exclusively by Nigerians with requisite competencies.
** Budgetary expenses incurred so far are enough for Boeing to have started aircraft delivery
** Twenty aircraft desirable for a national airline startup with a mission and vision
Those holding in trust, the aviation sector and the entrepreneurial activities therein on behalf of the federal government since the Nigeria Airways era, especially from the period the nation got independent from Britain, have successively and consistently failed because they exhibited crass ignorance on the impact, the establishment of a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul hangar would have on the profitability of airliners and its contributions to the national gross domestic product, GDP.
Capt. Oladele Ore, a Captain of Nigeria Airways and a barrister at law, expressed this notion while fielding questions eliciting his views on the state of air transport in Nigeria.
The revered Capt. Ore who has just been included among the three distinguished aviators in the Nigeria Air Transport Hall of Fame, and has earned the sobriquet, CIVIL AVIATION LEGEND, CAL, by the editorial board of Nigeria Transport Hub, NTH, said although the error was unpardonable but should not be allowed to continue like a recurring decimal which had started before the nation’s independence from its colonial master in 1960.
The octogenarian advised the ugly trend should immediately be stemmed without further delay as the establishment of MRO will provide a shot in the arm for the parlous financials of players in the nation’s aviation sector of the national economy.
On the importance of MRO to profitable air transport management, Capt Ore enthused, “this is also necessary now because those representing government failed to give attention to that critical element for a successful airline business”.
Enjoy the rest of the narrative-:
Qs: How grievous is the oversight by the government and its agencies not to have established an MRO?
Ans: “It’s a big shame that those in charge have since been contented with flying aircraft to Europe or the U.S. for maintenance. It’s a big shame. Those with oversight of aviation ought to have shown interest in how and where maintenance is done. And this is another major reason for losses. Flying aircraft out for maintenance keeps your profit graph on the floor”.
What you can do in a local maintenance base either in Port Harcourt, Orom, Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, or anywhere else within the country, we refused to provide.
For me, rather than establishing an airline, the priority should have been a maintenance facility.
At this stage in the history of aviation in Nigeria, we ought to have attained mastery in various aspects of maintenance with the different hangars laying claim to expertise in one or two aspects of aircraft maintenance.
Qs: How do you mean?
Ans: Like having a hangar with mastery in fixing challenges bordering on wheels or brakes. And those with that challenge go nowhere else. Another MRO with specialization in mainframe, another renowned for engine repairs, will each attract clients to benefit from a comparative advantage in quality service and in cost that will reflect the economy of scales. MROs with known different specializations will inspire healthy competition. This is good for the real growth and development of the aviation industry in Nigeria.
Qs: In essence, your postulation for those in authority to concentrate on building MROs, presumes the huge number of Nigerian domestic and international air travelers should be left to the foreign airlines to continue their business as usual and the nation/government be contented with the stipend in form of royalty from BASA?
Ans: You need to see the way passengers struggle before they could move to different domestic destinations. You need to see other destinations with good airports and a corresponding appreciable number of passengers yet, no flight to such places. By these facts, we need a national carrier. But it should be established in a way that there will be cooperation.
Qs: By your observation as just narrated, it seems more capacity is needed to cope with the existing demand for air travel in Nigeria, will national carriers and more flag carriers be out of place?
Ans: What we want now is a concerted effort to lead, and collaborate rather than unhealthy competition.
I am very happy that Ibom Air is doing very well. Dele Ore, Engineer Obadofin, Aeroconsult had hand in Ibom Air as a startup Airline. I am happy with that company. If the federal government is smart enough, it can buy over Ibom Air and rejig it to begin operation anew, as a national carrier perfectly. Moreover, the hangar in Akwa Ibom/Orom is the best in Africa.
The acquisition of Ibom Air will be the game changer and will also hasten the actualization of the people’s desire for a national carrier. Such a move no doubt will be a master stroke. A game changer. A perfect fit.
Qs: How will the search for expatriates and competent indigenous manpower be conducted?
Ans: Nigeria has the manpower, capacity, and capability to float a national carrier exclusively Nigerian, which will be very successful without inviting anyone, a group, or an airline to come and run the airline for us.
Qs: Now for the benefit of students in the management school who yearn for practical knowledge from those who are renowned as the master of the game, what structure or form should such a startup assume?
Ans: If you are establishing a national carrier, I will not be happy that you are even starting with 5 aircraft. You must start with 20 aircraft. You don’t need all of them at the same time. Boeing is always there for us. They want business in the Middle East and in Africa and especially Nigeria is such a beautiful bride that can attract the full presence and unimaginable support from BOEING.
Qs: Would that not come at a humongous cost in this era of scarce foreign exchange?
Ans: I don’t know how much has been spent so far on the proposed national carrier. But I’m convinced if half of what has gone into the hullabaloo of establishing a national carrier, if half of the money spent so far was deposited to Boeing, I assure you there would have been delivery at least of one aircraft per annum and this can run year-round and by now since the hues and cries started, we would have been counting some numbers of equipment.
Qs: Can you volunteer a condensed blueprint on how cumbersome it is to establish an airline?
Ans: In the business of setting up an airline, all the ceremonies witnessed now are not necessary. And I don’t think that because you are having an airline, you must be able to fly both locally and internationally. The regulatory authority would want to see your performance and structure for the domestic operations as satisfactory and later, the approval for the international would follow a few years afterward.
Qs: What kind of induction would the key officers need to ensure they deliver on the mandate of profit-making?
Ans: The airline management shall be charged to know that, the aircraft must pay their way and even make a profit. And this will also assume we have a solid MRO for these aircraft.
Qs: What about sourcing the training needs of personnel?
Ans: The manpower needs cannot be a problem at all because if we decide to take the commercial operation to the moon, we have competent Nigerians to administer the project effortlessly. The management that knows its onions should be put together. And we know how to source staff training needs without much ado.
Qs: Sir are you aware some sections have not acquitted you from involvement in the demise of WT?
Ans: My question for them is what exactly is their grouse against Dele Ore and some of his contemporaries like Bara Allwell-Brown, Why the concoction of error by mentioning us as the culprit for the demise of Nigeria Airways? Laughable, they even think that Dele Ore, Allwell Brown, and a few of us still remaining are part of the problems.
I make bold to say that they should look elsewhere. Wise people know that Dele Ore has never been part of problems but a bulwark for solutions.
Qs: Your parting shot sir?
Ans: Let me use this opportunity to pay my heartfelt tribute to my good friend and dependable ally, Taiwo Adenekan. He was instrumental in my research work. He was a pillar in Dele Ore & Associates. To host those powerful seminars, Taiwo made immense intellectual contributions. And the two of us put heads together to form Aviation Round Table, ART. The Non-Governmental Organization, NGO, is now christened Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, ASRTI. I sorely miss Taiwo Adenekan. And I wish him good rest wherever he is.
1 thought on “Establishing an MRO is more beneficial than a national airline- Capt. Oladele Ore”
Nigeria has limitless advantages to simply bring in Ibom air with little legal action as the national carrier instead of the Ethiopian airline. It’s much more rewarding and profitable to establish MRO than establishment of national carrier. Lack of generational leadership in general terms is indeed affecting our aviation sector of Nigeria economy just like every other sector of our economy. If I may ask the minister for aviation on whose interest is he inviting Ethiopian airline to lead the pack of establishment of Nigeria Airline. His answer will be off track. Yes indeed.