AIRLINE Operators of Nigeria (AON) have described as unfair, the recent approval granted United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier Emirates an additional flight into Abuja, now increasing its frequency to four (4) flights daily into Nigeria
According to the AON, this approval is coming at a time when Nigerian Carrier, Air Peace began flights to Sharjah in the UAE operated with 100% Nigerian Pilots, Cabin Crew, engineers and dispatchers stating that the move effectively places our indigenous carriers at a massive disadvantage, the Nigerian economy and the jobs of youths and huge capital flight.
Recall that at the launch of Air Peace flights to UAE, AON appealed that Government must stand tall to play the role of aero politics to support Air Peace, otherwise it will end up the same way as others such as Bellview, Arik Air and Medview that went before it as they were unable to play in the wild and aggressive field of international aero politics.
AON Chairman, Capt. Nogie Meggison in his submission said, “It is unfair to unleash a band of ravenous and voracious wolves against a harmless and privately funded puppy that is still trying to find its feet and doing all it can to survive, create economic impact and jobs for our youths. It is the role of Government therefore to protect our very own Nigerian Carriers and preserve the Nigerian economy and the jobs of our unemployed youths.
“The additional double daily flights given to Emirates, a highly subsidized airline is not necessary at this time as statistics show that half of the flights out of Abuja are half empty and the fact that the Emirati airlines already have an unfair trade advantage of 150 flights monthly out of Nigeria; as against 12 monthly flights for Nigerian airlines that should have been allowed to stabilize and grow its operations into the UAE to a level where the airline can compete favourably on the route.
“We would therefore like to use this medium to call on the government to review all existing BASAs to re-address the unfair trade advantage given to foreign airlines against Nigerian airlines.
“This will go a long way to safeguard the Nigerian economy from continued plundering of our resources, preserve the lively hood of workers in the aviation sector, create jobs for our many unemployed youths, promote technology transfer, and significantly reduce capital flight in line with the vision of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration,” said AON Chairman, Capt. Nogie Meggison.
Emirates according to the AON as of today, operates two daily flights out of Lagos and two daily flights out of Abuja. Etihad, from the same country, also operates daily flights out of Lagos as well.
This translates to 5 flights daily and a total of 150 flights per month from UAE; as against a Nigerian Carrier that only just started operating 3 flights weekly (12 flights monthly into UAE). This is a colossal plundering of the Nigerian economy through capital flight and a huge loss of Nigerian jobs.
And sadly Air Peace is still waiting to be allocated a dedicated Lounge or departure wing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport to signify that this is a Nigerian airline; as against the case with Emirates that has a huge Lounge at the Dubai International Airport that is heavily branded in the airline’s colours. The same goes with Etihad in Abu Dhabi, British Airways in London, Lufthansa in Frankfurt, and Air France in Paris etc.
In the light of the above therefore, it is little wonder that the three major carriers in the United States (United, American and Delta) cried out against the same open skies and anti-competitive behavior.