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United Nigeria Airlines chief demands special funding for local operators



The Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines (UNA), Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, on Thursday urged the Federal Government to support players in the nation’s aviation sector with “special funding.”

Okonkwo made the call at a retreat organised by the management of United Nigeria Airlines in Abuja to mark its second year in the nation’s aviation industry.

He said the provision of special funding for operators in aviation sector has become necessary because of its contribution to the nation’s economy.

Okonkwo said: “We are just asking for a special funding window that should be of a single digit and that is easily accessible, not necessarily on paper, but it is not accessible.

“We still believe that this government has done a lot for the aviation industry, though, more needs to be done and we think that the bigger legacy that this government will leave for the aviation industry is to ensure that the operators survive.

“No operator should go under, rather let there be new operators in the business of aviation.

READ ALSO: United Nigeria Airlines chairman, Okonkwo, blames flight cancellations for loss of revenue by airlines

“We are very patriotic Nigerians who have contributed so much to the Gross Domestic Product of the country giving employment. It is a sector that I advise this government and incoming one to take very seriously.

“Because, if properly harnessed, it will be a great source of foreign exchange for the country, especially, if the local operators should be empowered, this industry, we believe remains a critical and essential industry that should be treated as such.

“This industry cannot survive further at the regular commercial rates. We know that there are privileges given to sectors like agriculture and others. Aviation should be considered also.”

The UNA chief stressed that air transportation requires special attention from the government.

“If this is done, I have no doubt that the operators will be stronger and further render better services to the people,” he added.

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