Lagos — Stakeholders are still divided over the proposal by the Aviation Roundtable (ART) that a minimum of 20 aircraft is required to issue Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) to start-up airlines.
The ART made the proposal during its last conference in Lagos but mixed reactions have continued to trail it, especially from airline operators.
Daily Trust reports that all eight domestic airlines have less than 40 aircraft which is not up to the fleet size of some African airlines like Kenya Airways and Ethiopian, among others.
Following the misgivings expressed over the proposal, ART has defended its position, saying it was misunderstood.
Speaking through one of its officials, Olumide Ohunayo, ART said, "We are not advocating the cancellation of AOC of existing and operating airlines even with one and half aircraft, but emphasising the need to increase fleet.
"The real message is for anybody nursing the ambition to start an airline to build capacity for the task ahead. It is also to encourage them to rather invest that money in any of the existing airlines rather than start another competition," he explained.
The MD/CEO of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, said he could not see the scientific reason for the proposal.
"I don't know what they meant by the minimum of 20 aircraft in the fleet of Nigerian airline operators. Have they done a study to know the exact number of aircraft that are needed in Nigeria?
"I think we should not be talking about the number of aircraft alone, but we should also focus on the number of airlines the country should have to have an efficient transportation system," he said.
A travel consultant, Mr Nkechi Iko, said "Arik started with 20 plus aircraft but did not survive the 10 year jinx of Nigerian airlines. So I don't think it will make any difference if the environment remains the same.
"I have also noticed that any airline that has more than eight aircraft in Nigeria suffers operational disorder. Maybe Nigerian carriers have not yet developed back-end skills for large fleet," he said.