The President of the Aviation Round Table (ART), Mr. Gbenga Olowo, has advised the Federal Government to stop foreign airlines from having multiple entry points into the country. Olowo, who gave the advice in Lagos on Wednesday, urged the government to urgently review Nigeria’s Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) with other countries.
The agreements which had encouraged foreign airlines to fly into Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu International airports respectively were not extended to Nigerian airlines. The issue of giving multiple destinations to the foreign airlines is not good for the country economically because it is killing our domestic airlines.
“My advice is that BASAs should be reviewed to stop this open-sky arrangement where one foreign airline can fly into Abuja, Lagos or any of our international airports.“If an airline is coming into Nigeria, we should ask them to choose only one entry point. That is what they are doing to our own airlines in their countries and they are doing it to protect their own airlines.
“So, I believe that it is the duty of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to advise the Aviation Minister accordingly because it has obligation to protect our indigenous airlines.”
He emphasized that the new national carrier being proposed by the government like the defunct Nigerian Airways, might not survive for 10 years under the current situation. According to him, The eight domestic airlines in the country are struggling to survive because of policies like this.
They are not making enough money to cover their operational costs. What they are doing is to engage in cut-throat competition with each other which is not in their best interest. They will operate a very good schedule and I can guarantee you that it will reduce flying across the country with empty seats which are currently the situation. They will be able to set fair prices for their destinations and increase their profits.
To this end, he advised the domestic airlines to consolidate in a bid to survive the harsh’ operating environment. They should merge and form a strong flag carrier called Air Nigeria. It can be Air Nigeria 1, operated by Medview, Air Nigeria 2, operated by Air Peace, Air Nigeria 3, operated by Arik.