Abuja- The Director of African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko, has restated the need for a national carrier as part of measures to grow the tourism sector.
Uko, who made the call in a recent interview said tourism flies on the wing of a national carrier and Nigeria needs one to become a tourism destination.
"I have always been an advocate of a national carrier because I have seen the benefits.I have worked with African airlines that are mostly government-owned and I know that the national carrier provided capacity that no airline can provide. The amount of training that the national carriers give in Africa is enormous. Capacity enhancement is one of the biggest problems we have because an airline will think of bottom-line" he said.
"I don’t want to train pilots for other people to poach or train an engineer for a Middle Eastern carrier to pay them double our offer.However, if you have a national carrier, this will be seen as national development. So, there are some things that are beneficial to the national carrier; there are some rights the national carrier will have which I think are missing”, he said.
Uko said Nigeria does not have any airline protecting its people. There is a gap in the aviation environment due to this fact.
According to him, Nigeria needs a national carrier that will represent and promote its tourism sector.
He also said the minister should go ahead to make sure Nigeria had a national carrier to drive tourism patronage.
Uko stressed the need to upgrade the aviation industry in order to boost tourism.
Osita Chidoka, the new Minister of Aviation, on assumption of office, promised to build on the Nigerian Aviation Master Plan to fast tract the growth and development of the sector.
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