Domestic Alliance’ll Help Carriers Manage Capacity, Says Iyayi


The recommendation a decade ago by a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Roland Iyayi, that airlines need to come together to form an alliance to remain profitable has come to fruition with the setting up of Spring Alliance.

Reminiscent of global airline alliances like Star Alliance, One World, and SkyTeam, six Nigerian airlines signed an agreement called Spring Alliance.

The carriers signed the agreement in Lagos, Nigeria. The carriers, Azman Air, United Nigeria Airline, Arik, Air Peace, and Max Air inked the deal, which would help to mutually support one another’s operations and improve service delivery.

Iyayi, who spoke with Aviation Metric at the weekend, recalled that he once suggested it 10 years ago for airlines to form a Domestic Network Alliance (DNA) to manage capacity.

Iyayi, who is the President of TopBrass Aviation Limited, said: “I once suggested it over 10 years ago which I called Domestic Network Alliance. The whole idea is for domestic airlines to come together to manage capacity better.

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“Six of them coming together is a good indication that there is now some maturity in the industry and the issue of ego is going to be put aside and everybody would come together and do that for the common good of the industry.

“What it means essentially is that if you are carrying a ticket of any airline, you can fly on the next available airline. That’s a very good one and a welcome development and maybe finally we are waking up to the reality of the industry,” he said.

This is historic because it is the first time something of this nature has happened in Nigeria’s aviation industry. The carriers are fully committed to making sure that passengers are satisfied despite what many envisaged could be difficult at the initial stage by harmonising their operations.

Although the carriers did not elaborate on what the partnership or alliance entails, there are indications that they are working towards easier ticket booking, simplified operations such as check-in and baggage handling among others.

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Having seen the impact of the three major airline alliances like SkyTeam, OneWorld, and Star Alliance, the operators are keying into an arrangement that will provide seamless passengers facilitation, reduce costs and align operations that would be less cumbersome for their customers.

Some of the airlines’ chief executives that spoke to our correspondent are of the view that this initiative would help the development of the nation’s aviation industry including the sustainability of their operations, just as it would help travelers to experience seamless commuting whenever they choose to.

The Managing Director, Aero Contractors, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood noted that the formation of the Spring Alliance was a historic move, which prioritises the satisfaction of the passenger.

“Safety is the number one priority and this is what we stand for and coming together, like my colleagues rightly said, you find out that all these delays are caused by problems that passengers do not know and we just carry them from one point to another on time and make sure that everything goes smoothly.

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“We are asking passengers to give their utmost cooperation, we are doing our best, it is a challenging situation we find ourselves but yes, we are all in this together and we are hopefully coming out together,” Mahmood said.


Nigerian airlines

He also thanked all the relevant aviation stakeholders, adding that “this is just the beginning. As my colleague rightly said, this alliance is not only for Nigerian airlines; we are looking at other airlines around the world keying into the Spring Alliance.”

Nigerian airlines are currently going through a rough patch occasioned by scarcity of aviation fuel, difficulty in accessing foreign exchange, high taxes, and a tough operating environment that have made it extremely difficult for them to be profitable. They are adopting what they have seen work in other places.






Wole Shadare