Considering the capital intensity of an airline business, the Imo airline that has just been announced must take most of our people by surprise. And they are asking:
Was it started with borrowed funds or with money Imo state government had in reserve? Does the state have all that money, but refused to pay people salaries, pensions and contract fees?
It is tempting to welcome such investment as an economic step in the right direction, but the question will still be asked: why not pay the salaries and pensions that are outstanding first and alleviate the suffering of the masses being owed? Pay people first, before any grandiose airline investment. This makes more sense.
That not withstanding, we are still neither questioning nor condemning the decision, since it has been taken and executed. But the new airline must not be run like the Civil Service. We have to avoid the pitfalls that bedeviled the Civil Service and made the government unable to pay them.
Since government is said to be the owner of the Airline, the same lousy Civil Service mentality can also kill the airline and defeat its aims. That would be a disaster of a calamitous proportion again.
On the issue of who owns the airline, Dana or Imo government, what is most probable is that it is a partnership of the two. But the governor needs to clarify this better for the sake of transparency. If the funding sustainability of the project can be guaranteed, the whole idea of an Imo Airline can be applauded. It could be viable. It is a prestige project which portrays Imo as rich, if not the richest state. However and eventually it is with mixed feelings that Imo people welcome their new Airline. We need to justify the hopes of those who look at the project with optimism.
(c) Christian voice newspaper