Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu has called on government to enact favourable policies for airlines in the country as part of efforts to strengthen them stating that one way to do so is to reduce premiums charged the local operators, decrying that premiums charged the airlines was too high.
This is as the Royal Father this statement in London when the management of Med-View Airline hosted key players and travelling agencies in the airline business in United Kingdom.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, The Oba of Lagos, flanked both left and right by Alhaji Muneer Bankole, MD/CEO, Med-View Airline, Alhaja Bankole and at the extreme Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju rtd at a ceremony to celebrate Med-View Airline inaugural flight from Lagos to London held at Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, Central London.
There is currently a local content law from National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) that states that airlines must get their insurance premiums from the country, despite the hard fact that some of these airline have to pay over four times the average premium charged by main insurers outside the country.
Oba Akiolu further appealed to government to look into the insurance premium debacle currently faced by airlines if these airlines are to survive and become economically viable.
He argued that since aviation was global, Nigerian carriers should not pay higher premiums on equipment than their counterparts in Europe and America.
He declared that Nigerian market was very profitable with high demands and saw no reasons why brokers should charge them higher than their counterparts.
“The insurance brokers make their money in our country and that is why I want to appeal to them that wherever you make much profit, you should also endeavour to return some back to the country. They should see how they can reduce their premiums in the best interest of commercial environment,” he said.
The monarch also called on government to assist indigenous carriers with soft loans in form of aviation intervention fund to boost their businesses.
He said if the airlines access these soft loans it will increase their capacities especially in the area of acquisition of brand new aircraft, assuring that with well-trained personnel and good equipment, Nigerian airlines would succeed in their operations and reduced major incidents and accidents to the barest minimum.
He also insisted that such loans to the operators would aid in improving safety and air travellers would have more confidence in the operations of indigenous carriers especially when these loans are put to the right use.
The Oba hinted that it was necessary for the government to assist He declared that most of the country’s airlines closed shop early as a result of lack of financial supports, favourable policies and encouragement from the banks and Federal Government.
He explained that the government could serve as a guarantor for the airlines in a bid to access such soft loans, adding that such money if spent on the uplifting of their operations would be recouped within few years as the traffic was there in Nigeria.
He said, “Alhaji Muneer Bankole spent better days of his young days with the now liquidated national carrier, Nigeria Airways and he was very dedicated to his job and that is why God has helped him to grow the business since he started some years ago.
“Many Nigerians professionals are dedicated to their jobs, but the financial supports to grow the business are lacking most times and that is why I want to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to go all out to see how the government can raise very heavy money on a soft loans basis to the indigenous carriers to acquire brand new aircraft to upgrade their operations. It is not in the best interest to buy refurbished aircraft. I know Buhari as a determined leader when he sets out his mind to do something, he will not only do it well, but to the best interest of Nigeria.”
He urged Nigerians residing in United Kingdom to patronize the airlines and encourage it grow fast on the route.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Med-View Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole announced special offers to travelling agencies in London.
He announced that anyone of them that sell 200 tickets within a specific period would be rewarded with 300, 000 pounds and other accrued benefits.
He appealed to the agents to make the sale of the airline’s tickets a priority, informing that Med-View at present had 27 pilots including captains in its organization.
He explained that aviation industry globally required “clean money” to operate successfully, adding that as a result of high risks involved in the business, there was Nigerian company that could successfully carry the burden of insurance, no wonder 70 per cent of insurance premiums are done abroad while the remaining 30 per cent are done in Nigeria.
He maintained that with over eight million Nigerians residing in the UK, the airline should be a success story in the country.
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