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Domestic operators threaten to sue FG over multiple entries approval for foreign airline

by Business News Report

Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, has threatened to sue the federal government over the multiple entries to Nigeria granted to foreign airlines operating into the country. The threat was issued by Alhaji Yunusa Abdulmunaf, President of AON while speaking at the Q1 2022 Breakfast Business Meeting organised by the Aviation Round Table (ART) in Lagos with the theme: ‘Economic Implications of Multiple Entry Points by Foreign Airlines Into Nigeria.” He said that the body has decided to challenge the government in the court of law if the current policy on multiple entries to airlines is not addressed. The AON President ,who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Allen Onyema, the Vice President of AON, said that the body would in the next few days meet with Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation to deliberate on the issue.

He expressed confidence that the government would address the issue in the next 21 days, adding, however, that  the body was not giving the government an ultimatum. Abdulmunaf  lamented that billions of naira are being lost annually to multiple designations granted the foreign carriers and warned that ” if the policy continued unabated the domestic airlines would die, while the foreign airlines would eventually take over the domestic market.” The AON said: “All the foreign airlines that come into Nigeria, everyday the Central Bank Govenor cries about the amount of money being repatriated abroad. We are talking about the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country, but the foreign airlines are removing billions of dollars every year from this country, and airlines in Nigerians have been hassled with lots of requests on how to repatriate dollars into the system. Where am I going to get it from” ?

“Yet we are creating more avenues for these things to happen by giving multiple destinations to these foreign airlines. All the foreign airlines that come to this country, maybe about 20 or 30 of them have not been able to employ more than 150,000 Nigerians”. We keep on badmouthing Nigerian airlines, forgetting that we are the architects of our own undoing. Air Peace alone employs over 4,000 people directly. It would take foreign airlines another 60 years to generate 4,000 jobs. Yet Air Peace has to beg to be given rights to build a hangar in its own country, it has no land in its own country. No land for its assets and passengers. It didn’t start today. “ Also speaking at the event, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, the President of ART, decried that foreign airlines are gradually taking over the domestic market with continuous approvals for multiple entries for foreign airlines.

“The damages of multiple entries into Nigeria is huge. Britain for instance has 21 flights into Nigeria weekly. European Unions have 43 frequencies every week into Nigeria. Also the Middle East has 56 flights weekly into multiple entries into Nigeria.  As it is today, we have zero participation in the international sector as an industry and the domestic sector is eroded through multiple entries into Nigeria.” Minister of Aviation , Senator Hadi Sirika had once said that multiple entries approval to foreign airlines is a capital flight against the country. He said that this prevents the indigenous airlines from generating much revenues, rather grows the economics of foreign airlines. “Technically, it creates capital flight from Nigeria,” he had said.

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