Admittedly we are late comers in the major revolutions that marked the march to human civilization and entire global technological competiveness. From the agrarian (agricultural) revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe and Americas through industrial and knowledge revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries to the most revolutionary of revolutions – the information revolution of the 21st century which has reduced to a ridiculously meaningless level those formidable communication barriers that had separated us. Generally speaking, we are late comers to global technology innovations. We are late comers to air travel. In fact we have not made any significant contribution since the art of flying and allied businesses became a global obsession. Did you know that research and development (R & D) in aircraft design to conquer gravity and fly effortlessly through the sky were relentlessly pursued (and continued to be) around the globe except here? Perhaps you do or you don’t. Presently as you read this paper, those that made significant scientific and technological breakthroughs and put themselves in the technological spotlight, and who we now copy and imitate are still holding tenaciously to this seemingly old habit of R&D. Whether we like it or not R&D is the panacea to new technological breakthroughs. Unless we imbibe the R&D culture we will continue to be a late comer in the entire global technological competiveness. A late comer to work or lecture or to an organized event always end-up with a bad attitude. For example a late comer in the entire global technological competiveness struggles with cast-off tools and equipment and constantly finds himself/herself in disarray while attempting to catch-up with things done in his/her absence.
When he/she attends a scientific forum to raise awareness of the research, innovations and cutting-edge technological breakthroughs, the late comer is overwhelmed with amazement at the level of technological sophistication. Why? Simply put, he/she failed to harness his/her creative capacity that promotes scientific and technological innovations. But how do late comers get along in the scheme of things?
They make do with what is available to them and since their efforts yield nothing significant, they develop unparallel appetite for technology good and services as last resort. By so doing they drag the entire global technological momentum backward under the yoke of cast-off technology dumped on them like the force of gravity acting on an aircraft in flight. In dire situations, late comers apply shortcuts or quick-fix approach to problem solving because they are in a hurry. With sagging confidence they hurriedly gather together whatever imaginations their minds could capture in a given training and apply such haphazardly in the job environment without reference to any prescribed standard. This approach which so often plays out in this corner of the globe introduces major operational defect that causes job performance problem and unexpected failures in organization’s operations system. Sometimes critical defects appear suddenly in an operating environment and erode job performance criteria. Before line managers or supervisors know what was going-on the unexpected has happened and damage done. For example the design and manufacture of the aircraft, a heavier-than-air machine that overcomes gravity to ascend through the air like a bird, and the art of flying came to us as a mystical experience. Rather than pause and take a fresh critical look at some of the classic thinking that went into the design, manufacture and deployment of the aircraft, strategize and explore its relevance in our African business environment and perhaps do our own like the Japanese did, we rob shoulders in a deluded euphoria of catching-up with global technological competiveness.
The thrust of this paper is on airline failure or collapse or bankruptcy or extinction; whatever other appropriate name you might give it. The paper examines the causes and effect of the sudden demise of airlines with particular reference to Nigeria. Attempt will be made to generate a new consciousness that would engender a shift in emphasis to synthesis rather than analysis in airline management failures. It is easy to become preoccupied with what went wrong and lose sight of its fundamental purpose.
Most of the time we end-up doing absolutely nothing tangible to make it work or develop appropriate business model that could switch the airline operational performance from flying into failure to flying into profitability. This is the real reason airlines are flying into failure. For us it is the same outcome which has been very costly from an overall organizational view point. If you are a frequent air traveler, you would have noticed that those airlines which started aviation business with great fanfare and which we held in great esteem then, collapsed suddenly. Some were engulfed in leadership tussle before the unthinkable happened. Some suffered catastrophic loss of engine power which turned the plane into a casket and sank suddenly. Some suffered catastrophic fatalities before they became extinct.
Others pushed themselves into brink of financial crisis literarily running out of cash due to massive bleedings of financial resources before the airlines went from profit to bankruptcy.
ESTABLISHING SCIENTIFIC LANDMARKS
Every avid reader will assert solemnly that scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations by the global technology giants, have a common trait; an obsession to conquer their environment and make life easier by pushing the boundaries of technology innovations to establish scientific landmarks. Indeed they gave us electricity, automobile, conquered the sky for us, gave us internet, got us connected to one another permanently by global satellite for mobile communication (GSM), removed Air traffic control ambiguities and created Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and have gone further to seek out a new home suspended in out-of-space leaving us again in dire strait. No matter how hard we try as corporate entity, we may never compete at the technological frontiers without putting a limit to how much a country or continent can rely on technologies acquired through arms-chair means. Countries must have the capacity not just to absorb and imitate technological development created by others, but also the ability to generate inventions of their own. This, to my mind, is the most strategic and determined attempt to develop sustainable technology across the economic and business spectrum that can propel our ascendant to the world stage and stop flip flopping.