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Govt’s support i’ll come when service standards are raised, Keyamo tells airlines

Operators call for BASA, MASA  renegotiation, seek license to import jet fuel

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo stated that the Federal Government was ready to partner and support airlines under their umbrella body, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).

He however said the support would come once the operators are ready to raise the standard of their services.

The Minister stated this when members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria led by Dr. Abdulmunaf Yunusa paid him a courtesy visit in his office today.

Keyamo explained that the visit by the AON was a follow-up of a private visit made earlier by the association, saying, “I don’t want to operate as a ghost. I said one of my policies is to operate an open policy. I said to you, bring up your challenges so that Nigerians would understand exactly where government and airline operators stand.’’

Disclosing his readiness to support the growth and sustenance of the local airline operators while holding them to the highest international standards in the aviation industry, Keyamo noted that they are critical to the growth and development of the aviation industry and the country at large, hence government’s readiness to help them operate profitably.

The Minister assured of a possible review of all Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA), stressing the need for Nigerian operators to renew their fleet of airplanes to meet the challenges of air travel.

He also pleaded with the airline operators to cooperate among themselves to find a way to establish their businesses such that it would have enough capital to survive instances like the Covid-19 pandemic.

He promised to suggest to the government the possibilities of AON   accessing facilities at single digits, including associated foreign exchange to meet their foreign obligations.

While welcoming investors to establish commercial MROs in Nigeria, Kayamo stated that during his administration, a futuristic masterplan would be developed to accommodate everything that would make Nigeria an aviation hub in Africa while employing all airlines to utilise their BASA routes to reduce the prices of airfare.

Earlier, the President of AON, Dr. Abdulmunaf Yunusa presented a paper through Captain Roland Iyayi who highlighted some of the constraints and challenges and probable solutions to Nigeria’s aviation industry.

Among the challenges highlighted were scarcity of Foreign Exchange, high cost of jet fuel, high cost of capital and funding options, infrastructure, taxes, fees and charges as well as government policies.

AON while proposing a solution requested a license for Jet A1 importation and distribution through a strategic partnership and an immediate review of all industry taxes, fees, and charges.

They also called for an immediate renegotiation of all existing BASAs and Multilateral Air Service Agreements (MASA) in line with the provision of the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM), with emphasis on the principle of reciprocity in favour of domestic airlines.

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