Review Agreements With Airlines, Stakeholders Urge Sirika
following the inauguration of ministers on Wednesday, stakeholders in the aviation industry have asked the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to consider reviewing Bilateral Air Service Agreement Airlines with other countries.
Stakeholders had in the last few weeks made repeated calls for the Federal Government to resolve issues around the BASA and multiple entries for foreign airlines, which they said had been stifling local carriers.
The President, Aviation Round Table, Mr Gbenga Olowo, said the returning minister should among other things, focus on deliberate intervention to rescue market share for Nigerian carriers through a review of all existing BASA.
He said there should be immediate reversal of all multiple entry points in Nigeria to single entry points for foreign carriers.
“This is the necessary and sufficient condition for a viable and productive aviation sector at Sirika’s second coming,” he said.
An aviation security expert, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (retd.), noted that reviewing BASA might involve a lot of diplomatic technicalities and languages.
He, however, stated that reviewing all the commercial agreements with foreign airlines especially those that were given multiple frequencies, landings and destinations outside BASAs was within the competence of the power of the ministry and the minister.
Ojikutu said, “To retain and sustain the domestic routes and the markets for the Nigeria private airline commercial operators, there is a very urgent need to review those commercial agreements that have given multiple landings and destinations in this country to foreign airlines.
“You should consider therefore restricting the foreign airlines landings to either Abuja or Lagos and to any other airport in the alternative geographical zone to their first choice of Lagos or Abuja for each airline within its operating BASA.
“No foreign airline should go to Lagos and Abuja but any airline can fly multiple frequencies as many times as it wishes daily and weekly to its allocated airports.”
Among other considerations, Ojikutu said the minister should urgently look into airport security, which he said came under the focus of industry stakeholders and the public in the last four weeks.
He explained that the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos in its present state was in the midst of uncontrolled urban development and complicated road network.
According to him, without the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria exercising proper ownership of roads and security of airport infrastructure, the safety of travelling passengers would not be sufficiently guaranteed.
Aviation Analyst, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, urged the minister to consider the commercial gaps in the industry and fill them up.
He said there was a need to focus on commercially-oriented projects that would generate revenue and improve employment.
The stakeholders also advised the minister to revisit the national carrier project but with appropriate measures in place to ensure its success.