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Africa: ‘Nigerian airlines ’ll operate on intercontinental routes by 2030’

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Experts in the aviation industry have projected that despite challenges in the industry, domestic airlines would become successful on international routes in a few years.

This is as they lamented the Federal Government’s unfavourable policy on Bilateral Air Services Agreement with other countries, where foreign carriers are assigned multiple destinations in Nigeria thereby stunting the growth of domestic airlines.

Aviation expert and Chairman, African Business Aviation Association, Mr Nick Fadugba, stated that going by certain indices in the industry; by 2030, the Federal Government would have adopted the business models of Singapore and United Arab Emirates by seriously embracing aviation as a strategic tool for economic and social development.

He said this would help the government to review Bilateral Air Service Agreements with non-African countries on the basis of reciprocity, as access to the Nigerian market had huge economic value.

Fadugba said, “By 2030, Nigeria will have two airlines operating regular scheduled services on intercontinental, regional and domestic routes. One will have a minority government stake and the other will be totally private sector-driven. Each airline will have a fleet of 25 to 40 modern aircraft. One will be a member of a global airlines alliance.

“Four or five smaller carriers, each with five to 10 aircraft, will provide niche services, such as domestic routes, regional routes or cargo operations. One will become Africa’s established leading Hajj operator.”

Fadugba, who is also a former Secretary General of African Airlines Association, spoke at an aviation event in Lagos, on Wednesday, with the theme, ‘Boosting aviation investment through policy’.

He also stated that by the projected time, the government and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria would have taken the necessary tough steps to resolve the receivership impasse at Arik Air and Aero Contractors, so they would no longer be in limbo.

“The sizeable combined fleets of Nigerian airlines will have provided a ready market for the establishment of a viable aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Nigeria, a joint venture with an experienced foreign MRO,” he added.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Med-View Airline, Mr Muneer Bankole, said the Federal Ministry of Transportation through the minister of aviation and other relevant regulatory agencies should reflect on the National Aviation Policy in conjunction with various stakeholders holistically.

According to him, BASA agreements with other major European and some Asian countries need to be urgently reviewed to reflect the interest of local carriers.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, said rather than seek the assistance of any foreign airline to establish a new national carrier for the country, the Federal Government should empower domestic carriers.

Onyema said Nigerian airlines were very strong, adding that it was insulting for another African airline to propose to help the government to set up a national carrier.

He said, “The government must trust our airlines because as I speak, other African countries are coming to Air Peace for assistance to set up their own national carriers and we have agreed to assist them in a win-win situation.”

Onyema said it had become necessary to resist moves to belittle Nigerian carriers as they were meant to continuously exploit the country.

By Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi
Source: punchng.com

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