April 16, 2024

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AON Chides Foreign Airlines Against Denigrating Nigeria, AFRAA Advises Against Multiple Entry Points

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An aviation think tank group, Aviation Policy & Strategy, won recognition as the Best Aviation Social Media Platform. L-R: Mr Olumide Ohunayo, Admin Mgr, Dr Alex Chima, Sen Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister, Dr Daniel Young, Group Capt John Ojikutu, Rtd.

The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not owe foreign airlines’ proceeds of ticket sales nor does it unduly withhold any fund belonging to any of the foreign airlines operating into Nigeria.

Rather, the foreign airlines have been covetous of the official foreign exchange window for the repatriation of their money in Nigeria’s banker’s bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Hence, all the foreign airlines have been sternly warned to henceforth desist from bad-mouthing Nigeria and its government as the indigenous operators also source their foreign exchange needs from the second-tier forex market.

Barrister Allen Onyema, Vice Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, and the proprietor, Air Peace Airline, made the disclosure at the February 2023 edition of the monthly “AFRAA Sky Connect Leadership Dialogues session.”

The AON vice Chairman told his audience at the continent-wide forum that, foreign airlines should desist from presenting Nigeria’s state in a bad light before the global community.

Barrister Allen Onyema, Vice President, Airline Operatos of Nigeria, AON

Onyema urged the airlines to approach their bankers in Nigeria and demand their money which ostensibly will be made available not at the official rate but, at the rate obtained in the parallel foreign exchange market which is, in the same manner, the indigenous operators’ source their foreign exchange needs.

The Vice Chairman of AON noted that with the absurdity in the numerous multiple entries granted most foreign airlines yet, they contribute a mere token in job creation, in backward linkages, and in corporate social responsibility, CSR, as they exhibited a stance of a predator to the air transport sector of the national economy.

Moderator of the high-powered “Leadership Dialogues session,” Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, Director, Govt., Legal, & Industry Affairs of African Airlines Association, AFRAA, raised a conjecture whether the various points in the nation are not well served by domestic operators hence, the Nigerian government was compelled to grant the multiple entries?

Barrister Onyema retorted that the combined capacity of AON members quite outstripped the statistics of air travelers hence, such thing as under capacity does not arise.

Onyema however noted that a gross lack of patriotism on the part of government officials’ concern must have informed decisions not profitable to the national economy nor does it positively impact domestic investors in the aviation subsector of the national economy.

He said areas where the foreign airlines could have made a modicum of impact in helping to reduce the glut in the labor market are being sheepishly covered by the two major ground handlers.

The AON Chieftain said where more personnel ought to have been engaged by the foreign airliners, the personnel of the ground handling companies are wont to merely change their dresses and put on the uniform of the particular airline ground handling services are being offered. And when another airline touchdown, Onyema said, a similar thing is done thus few personnel are being merely recycled to serve the foreign airlines’ ground handling needs.

Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, Director, Govt., Legal, & Industry Affairs of African Airlines Association, AFRAA

While Onyema noted that the domestic operators have contributed a lot to reducing unemployment as aviation in Nigeria is reputed as one of the major employers of labor.

He added that the massive recruitment drive by his AON members had largely contributed to the reduction in terrorism and suicide bombings in the country.

The program moderator, Raphael Kuuchi, wondered if the Nigerian government had ever given enough support to the indigenous airlines in light of the plethora of obstacles highlighted.

The Air Peace Airline proprietor responded in the affirmative and acknowledged that the Director General, of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt Musa Nuhu, and the Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, had severally and collectively intervened in some of the challenges bedeviling the indigenous operators.

Kuuchi however suggested that since the Nigerian indigenous airline operators have the capacity, they should arrange themselves to serve excellently well, the domestic routes.

While to the government he urged should expunge the multiple entry points and exclusively grant Abuja and Lagos as entry points for both regional and international airlines.

To be continued …….

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