Worried by the short lifespan Nigeria’s domestic airlines are synonymous with, the House Committee on Aviation in the present ninth National Assembly has declared its interest to ensure that proper financial audit of intending local airlines are henceforth done before issuance of licences to stem early exits of indigenous operators which the committee said has become regular occurrences in the industry.
This is just as the committee has indicated that its partnership with the Senate would move for the review of Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) Nigeria signed with over 80 foreign countries to address the increasing dominance of the aviation industry by foreign airlines so that the indigenous carriers can be protected from early collapse as has been observed.
The committee has also threatened to shut down the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport at Abuja should there be any accident caused by the protracted construction of a second runway is now for the airport.
Declaring this yesterday, the Chairman of House Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji during his post-inaugural address to the House, also pledged to partner with the Senate Committee on Aviation to collaborate with industry agencies to bequeath to Nigerians an industry that is safe, reliable and viable.
ALSO READ: Warri South moots 1, 000 hectares of oil palm plantation, tech hub in Delta
On the three to shut down the Abuja airport, Nnaji attributed this to what he called overdue actualization for another runway “because of the strategic importance of the airport as the gateway to the nation’s capital and the seat of government. It is pertinent to point out that in the event that we witness an accident on the runway; the airport will be shut down to traffic until accident investigators are done with their preliminary investigations. We shouldn’t wait for that to happen before we do the right thing. We will engage the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to bring this to fruition”.
He emphasized the determination of the committee to review the policies that tend to hinder the growth of domestic carriers, which he said enabled the dominance of international carriers over the nation’s airspace.
Nnaji who said the Ministry of aviation was expected to forward to the Committee, an Aviation Development Master Plan (ADMP) yearly “which would form the policy framework for the development of Nigerian Aviation sector as a major hub for the continent of Africa, the creation of an enabling environment that will support local airlines to fly our flag globally; ensuring that the foreign airlines’ domination in the Nigerian Aviation market is curtailed; the possibility of reviewing the multiple entry designations granted to some international airlines to protect the local industry and ensuring safe and quality service delivery by all agencies and organisations that operate in the industry.
His words: “We will equally work with the regulatory authorities; the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Ministry of Aviation to ensure that proper financial audit of intending local airlines are done before issuance of licences to stem early exits of indigenous operators which have become regular occurrences in the industry.
“Our Aviation Industry has great potential, which has over the years been unduly exploited by foreign airlines. My understanding is that several foreign carriers operate multiple flights out of Nigeria daily (morning and night), charging very exorbitant fares without any indigenous operator reciprocating same. These no doubt promote capital flights, unemployment and negatively impact on the economic growth of the nation, which should not be tolerated. Findings have also shown that some Nigerian travellers now have to go through the neighbouring West African countries to connect flights to Europe and America because fares are cheaper over there”.