CAPTAIN Edward Boyo is the Chief Executive Officer of Overland Airways. He is a globally renowned expert in aviation and air transport development.
Together with his team of professionals, Boyo has diligently managed Overland Airways, Nigeria’s most consistent, longest -serving airline that has provided uninterrupted flight services over the past 15 years in Nigeria. As Overland Airways marks its 15years Anniversary, Captain Boyo in this interview reiterates the commitment of the Airline to serve the economy.
Overland Airways is marking its 15 years of flight services, and is today the most consistent longest -serving airline in Nigeria. As the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, how would you describe the journey so far?
Overland Airways has served the economy diligently for the past 15 years and we are thankful to God Almighty for that. just like any other business, the journey of Overland Airways is replete with exciting and challenging moments. When we started out our journey as an airline, we had a singular vision and objective to be successful in serving the economy by moving people from one location to another in safety and comfort and in a professional manner that adds value to their businesses and living.
We anticipated there would be challenges, and we as much as possible try to be realistic when addressing these challenges.
In other words, our journey is a journey driven by commitment to service. The Nigerian economy is faced by many challenges, and every Nigerian is expected to come out with solutions at various levels and competencies. Our niche is in providing Nigeria with air interconnectivity, connecting people and places together to create business and pleasure; and we serve with all our heart in that regard. That is our journey as Overland Airways.
We pioneered flight services to Ibadan, Ilorin, Akure, Dutse, Jalingo, Asaba, Kaduna, Abuja, among others, to assist investors, students, government officials, holiday makers and others get easier and safer means of movement to and from remote economies.
This has paid dividends to these economics and that is the essence of our journey as an airline. We have stepped up our core competences and capabilities over these years, for instance Overland Airways has undergone the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and is listed on the IOSA Registry.
Overland is also a proud member of IATA, a community of respectable Airlines dictating global best practices and standard in the world today. These are world-class achievements and Overland Airways today sits among the world’s leading airlines in terms of operational safety standards and overall quality.
It would have been a disservice if we ventured into service with the wrong tools and capabilities. Therefore, part of our commitment is to serve the right way, bringing our global experiences into delivering the excellent world class services that Overland Airways provides today.
Make no mistakes about it, setting up an airline is easier to achieve than running the airline sustainably which is a complex and challenging task. Our ability to run Overland Airways successfully and sustainably over these past 15 years is a feat that has preserved and set Overland Airways apart today as an industry leader setting standard of top-quality airline management in Nigeria and the West Africa region. As long as mankind exists, the journey of an airline continues. So I can say that even at 15 years, the journey of Overland Airways has just begun.
You are about the only airline Chief Executive Officer that is also a Pilot actively flying your passengers regularly. What has been your key motivation and driving force?
Well, I will say that I am actuated by the need to serve. I believe the resources should not be wasted but brought to bear on driving our corporate economic goals. Again, flying is a vacation which I see as a service. I also believe no one is too big to serve whenever one finds oneself. When we set the right direction through our own activities as leaders, it becomes easier to bring the next generation into line as example, is a good way to express leadership.
At Overland Airways we have six core values, namely professionalism, excellence, safety, accountability, working hard and integrity. When you look at these, there is no provision for laxity; and to provide leadership under these concepts should come with a good measure of appropriate examples. To me I see it as leading from the front rather than from the sidelines or back.
Finally, I enjoy it and I am not about to leave it; my passengers too enjoy it and they are not about to give it up. It’s a unique selling proposition of Overland Airways and a win-win for all sides. it is an important part of the sweet service experience we deliver to our passengers.
Overland Airways had previously hinted of plans to venture into West African markets. Where are you now on this?
Let me start by saying that Overland Airways is proud to be a member Airline of IATA. This international seal of excellent world-class airline standard complements Overland Airways’s characteristic high quality service. The same commitment we have to help transform hinterland economies in Nigeria is what we are taking to the regional arena to integrate the regional economies in West Africa. Nigeria is our home and Africa is our world.
At 15years we are old enough to venture. Our studies and practical demonstration at home matches tell us we shall overcome the challenges of the away matches and we are set to go.
In fact, Overland Airways has been operating excellent charter services in the region over these past 15years; but we will extend our schedule services to the region to play our part in the economic integration of West Africa.
This is inline with the ICAO concept of ‘No Country Left Behind ‘, and also reflects our passion to drive the realization of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 objective to transform Africa’s economy. We must begin to emphasize on professionalism and world-class standard in providing solution to challenges confronting us as a region. It is necessary that we add value and not only wait for solutions from abroad.
Overland Airways is widely known as an economic development partner opening up hinterland routes. What is the motivation for the airline in this regard?
Hinterland routes or secondary airports in remote economies are all a key part of the national economy that should be adequately developed to ensure fair distribution and transformation of national wealth. Providing easy access enables hinterland economies develop faster and benefit from various economic development schemes.
Overland Airways fills the gap in economic development by interconnecting hinterland economies and also linking them to hub economies. That is why we have dedicated flights to places like Ibadan, Akure, Ilorin, Asaba, Dutse, Jalingo, etc.
Even though there is an increasing rate of rural-urban migration, the rural and semi-urban areas still hold a greater portion of Nigeria’s over 180 million population and abundant workforce, as well as untapped natural resources such as arable land, mineral resources, etc .
These resources are of no benefit if they are not exploited and transformed to add value to people’s lives. Some of these remote economies produce some of the best solid minerals and agricultural products in the world today.
Overland Airways ensures that investors, agribusiness owners, researchers, students, agencies, and community dwellers have easy air access to these locations which are usually considered inaccessible or difficult to access by road for accelerated development.
Sustaining world-class airline services to these hinterland routes comes with courage and determination and a high level of airline professionalism. And they love us because we bring world-class, airline services to their doorsteps. What more can they ask for, as we are always willing to do more to create greater value for them, which is the reason why Overland Airways is in existence.
What do you look to in another 10 to 15 years for Overland Airways?
If God grants long life, I will be around for another 15 years. The vision of Overland Airways and commitment to economic development remains firmly the same, and can only be strengthened as the years go by. What will expand is the scale of operation in the evolution of the airline. We will continue to embrace technology and improve investment in our human capital and operating Assets, in order to increase the value we create for the customer.
This means that we will expand our routes sustainably within Nigerian and the West Africa region, and also partner with Airline entities from other regions within and outside Africa to complement our route expansion efforts. We will also expand our fleet with more aircraft to serve our customers better. Overland Airways will become a household name on every lip in Africa, outlive many generations to exist and infinitum and will become the foremost economic development partner in the region.
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