By Niyi Tabiti
Newly appointed Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of Virgin Nigeria Airline, Captain Dapo Olumide, this morning commenced a tour of media houses across the country. Accompanied by Mrs. Nkiru Olumide-Ojo, the Head Corporate Communications and Sam, the media Relation manager, the team visited Newswatch Magazine on Billingsway, Oregun and Daily Independent Newspaper, Ikeja,Lagos,today.
The DMD explained that the tour is aimed at thanking the Nigerian press for it support over the years and to re-affirm its corporate commitment to customer value.
Olumide, whose experience in the aviation industry as a pilot spans over 25 years before he had a short stint in the banking sector describe as unfounded, speculations that the company is going under just because they stop long haul trip to destinations such as Dubai,London an South Africa. According to him, the new masterplan of the company is to utilize the vast potentials provided by regional routes.
He also explained that the company would rather consolidate efforts in ensuring that they adequately provide effective services to passengers going to places like Kinsshasha, Dakar,Banjul and other places in Africa.
When the time is ripe, we would go back on the long haul route with aircrafts that has modern facilities like bed and so on, he said.
He stated that Virgin Nigeria is healthy. The reason for the recent downsizing was because they stopped certain routes and there was no need to keep people on the payroll without offering value in return.
On the issue of why most Nigerian airlines are still finding it difficult to compete with their foreign counterparts, he explained that the facilities the foreign airlines get are usually long term whereas the ones given here are on short term basis. For instance, a foreign airline can buy an aircraft and buy over a period of say 25 years but here, that kind of facility is not guaranteed because the banks want their money back in say 5 years.
The DMD noted that contrary to reports in certain quarters that Sir Richard Branson has taken his share out of Virgin Nigeria, the British Millionaire still own 49 per cent equity in the company as at this moment.
Olumide and his team, were well received by the two media houses they visited today. Olumide, a former pilot for Mrs. Maryam Babangida in her days as First Lady of Nigeria, formally presented a ‘Glide’ the official in flight magazine the airline to the media houses.
At Newswatch, the team were received by the senior editorial exceutives led by Mr.Soji Akinrinade,Dan Abu and others.
At Daily Independent, they were received by a delegation consisting of top editorial executives such as the Chief Executive, Mr.Ted Iwere, Mr. Akpandem James,Musikilu Mojeed, Habeeb Haruna, Rotimi Durojaiye, Tunde Abatan and others.