Many Nigerians, especially industry stakeholders were pessimistic when the federal government through the former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah firmly announced that Nigeria would float a new national carrier.
They were pessimistic because they did not believe government could successfully run an airline. This is confirmed by the demise of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways Limited, which ghost is still haunting those who were involved in the airline.
Many former workers of the airline would argue that the airline was not at a hopeless financial state when it was liquidated, that there were airlines at worse situation in other countries that were revived, including Kenya Airways.
The national carrier plan failed because government refused to carry stakeholders and other Nigerians along with the fear that if it did the project might be scuttled by those who did not want it to work. So it wrapped a lot of its plans in secrecy with the media leaking uncoordinated snippets of it that never made sense.
Government chose Aero Contactors when there was a bigger airline, Arik Air with more than twice the number of aircraft in Aero’s fleet and with New Generation aircraft of average of seven years. This choice heightened suspicion of Nigerians that government was not sincere in its pursuit of the programme.
Industry observers said Aero was not chosen from an objective, strategic plan because it was a better airline; it was chosen to cast aspersion at Arik which obviously qualified to be designated in accordance with government’s plan. So the choice of Aero was a retribution against Arik for the dark relationship it had with the former Minister, which the airline significantly shared the blame.