September 27, 2022

Nigeria Transport Hub

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Sincere Cultivation of Domestic Industry, Best Means to Birth Vibrant Flag Carrier- ASRTI

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Left: Dr Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, President, Airlines Operators of Nigeria, AON, and Sen Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, during the operators’ visit to Abuja on their crusade for aviation fuel availability and at a sustainable pump price

A patriotic None Government Organization, NGO, has offered the Federal Government consultancy for gratis.

The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, ASRTI, urged the Aviation Ministry to get busy with growing and developing the domestic air transport industry to such a height that formidable and vibrant flag carriers would emerge and sooner than later, become vibrant enough on their merit, to attract myriads of investors and profitable commercial agreements.

ASRTI, gave the advice in its media statement while highlighting the value of sticking to agreements in international trade, especially as enshrined in the Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASA, of which Nigeria has currently entered into over 92 agreements with other sovereign states and airline companies.

ASRTI noted that the fallout from the brewing face-off with the foreign airlines, Nigeria can ill afford hence, the rationale for abiding by international trade agreements including the Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASAs.

The statement urged the arm of government concerned to devise ways and means to begin honouring without delay, her obligations to airlines whose funds have been trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

It highlighted damages from continued delay in remitting foreign airlines funds to include depicting the nation as an unfriendly investment destination and this with far-reaching implications to the economy and to those prospecting in any arm of the aviation chain.

The ASRTI statement noted that continuing withholding airlines’ forex had assailed the citizenry with “high fares, reduced capacity and limited travelling options, which will worsen if we continue on this trajectory” if said.

ASRTI lamented that “the unborn Nigeria Air cannot produce this capacity, irrespective of the funds allocated, but by an aggregated process of developing our industry to produce vibrant flag carriers that will be courted for commercial partnerships which is the purveyor for successful international flight operations,” it advised.

The NGO also frowned at the lack of accurate, reliable and verifiable data in the nation’s air transport industry. It noted the absence of such a critical element, as reliable data, could be the albatross for the consistent inability to attain meaningful achievement in the nation’s air transport.

The statement said, “we are also of the opinion that to kick start this process, a functional and credible data gathering methodology for the industry is a necessity. We cannot continue to blow hot air without verifiable data”.

Recall the Founder and Chairman of Air Peace, barrister Allen Onyema recently lamented that the airline took on a new destination to cultivate the route on the west coast of Africa while relying on data sourced from one of the government agencies only to discover after committing huge investment in humans, materials and forex on the route that, the data the airline relied on was about two decades old.

With such a narrative, the ASRTI yearned for a change for the better.

Moreover, the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, AFARN, has announced as one united body that if the waiting game by the federal government dragged till December, they will be left with no option than to shut down operating to Nigerian air space.

Implications for some government agencies such as Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, will only be compelled to make do with revenue from over flyers.

Also to be adversely affected is the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, whose revenue from landing and parking will be depleted not to talk of thousands of direct and indirect jobs that will be lost.

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