Multiple Frequencies: How Domestic airlines struggle under dominance by foreign carriers

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Domestic carriers grapple with a lot of challenges ranging from high cost of aviation fuel, lack of aircraft maintenance facility, foreign exchange rate, multiple taxation amongst others.

However, among these problems is the multiple frequencies operated by foreign airlines in the country; one that has continued to hugely deplete the revenues of local carriers.

BASA agreements

Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) is an agreement that allows foreign airlines to operate in the country but the agreement is founded on the principle of reciprocity. It is a deal that enables a country’s airlines to enjoy equal leverage, in terms of flight operations, in countries with which their home country has an air agreement.

In addition to the numerous BASAs signed by Nigeria with other countries, the country recently signed BASA with the Republic of India. The agreement stipulates that passengers being processed from Nigeria would enjoy direct flight to India as a result of the agreement.

While Nigeria has continued to sign various BASAs, experts have raised concerns on the ability of Nigerian carriers to reciprocate these agreements and even if they are able to reciprocate, they often contend with stringent regulations from the host countries, making it extremely difficult to sustain the routes.

It is in the light of these Nigeria needs to find out what went wrong with previous air agreements it signed with other countries and why they are not delivering value before  it signs more.

How BASA works against local carriers

No matter how juicy a BASA agreement may seem between two countries, these agreements must be signed on the basis of reciprocity or else the country on the other end may be shooting itself on the foot.

Domestic airlines operating in Nigeria have continued to lose out in revenue and flight frequencies, … Read More...

Stakeholders ask FG to review BASA to support domestic airlines in Nigeria

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Stakeholders in the aviation section sector have again called on the Federal Government review its bilateral air service agreements (BASAs) it signed with foreign countries to make them reciprocal and support the growth of Nigerian airlines, aviation stakeholders said yesterday.
They said government must wake up from its slumber and come up with sustainable policy frameworks to grow the aviation sector.
Gabriel Olowo, President of Aviation Roundtable and Safety Initiative, said Nigeria needs a stable legal and regulatory frameworks to grow the industry.
They spoke at the 23rd Annual Conference and Award ceremony organized by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos, on WednesDay.
The conference chaired by Muneer Bankole, the Managing Director/CEO of Med-View Airline,  had as its theme, “Boosting Aviation Investment through Policy”.
Olowo decried the multiple entry points for foreign airlines, adding that it as “disastrous and deliberate annihilation of the domestic market.”
He said a situation where some airlines fly to multiple airports in Nigeria without any Nigerian airline reciprocating is “a negative balance of trade.”
“The essence of regulation is not only about safety. We have failed with economic regulations. This is a major weakness,” he said.
Nick Fadugba, President of African Airlines Association,  said a situation where 90 per cent of the Nigerian market was controlled by non-Nigerian airline “is damaging to the economy.”
“Nigeria needs to urgently review its BASA policy. An air route is like an oil bloc. You don’t just give it out without something in return, ” he added.
He said Nigeria deserves a national carrier with minority government shareholding and it must be done transparently and skilfully with knowledgeable individuals.
Allen Onyema, chairman of Air Peace,  said the government has no option but to support the Nigerian airlines to thrive and protect
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Ten days after, AirPeace sustains frequency, airfares to UAE

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Ten days after Nigeria’s largest carrier Air Peace commenced operations into Dubai via Sharjah, the airline has been able to sustain its frequency on the Lagos-Dubai routes as well as the airfares it started with.

The airline which commenced the new route on Friday, 5th of July, 2019 has continued to operate three times weekly to Sharjah; TuesDays, Fridays and Sundays, from only Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos offering passengers between N155,000 to N180,000 for a return ticket on the same route, while high-end airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways still costs between N310,000 to N400,000,  on the Lagos-Dubai routes.

The airline has also continued to make provision for a complementary bus to convey its passengers from Sharjah to Dubai which is within a space of 40minutes. The airline is also leveraging its new aircraft, Boeing 777 aircraft; the same aircraft Emirate also uses to drive patronage on the route.

A travel agent who craved anonymity told BusinessDay that the airline is still seeing patronage to the route as a result of its reduced ticket fares, but the its Business class seats have not performed so well after the inaugural flight.

“Nigerians believe in the airline and I believe they are ready to support it. The airline has experienced over 60percent load factor in its economy seats since it started operations into UAE but business class seats have been relatively low. We believe with time and more awareness, the business class seats will pick up. It’s a new routes and I believe people will build confidence in it with time,” the travel agent told BusinessDay.

Speaking on its codeshare arrangements with airlines on the route, Allen Onyema, chairman of AirPeace said the airline has an agreement with SATA, with the consent of … Read More...

NAMA commences installation of prefabricated pilot joint briefing offices

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Efforts by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to digitalise the nation’s aeronautical information service (AIS) have received a boost as the agency recently commenced the installation of prefabricated pilot joint briefing offices nationwide.

The installation team, which has completed work at Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos, has proceeded to another airport and is expected to continue the installation in 21 airports and three aerodromes nationwide.

When operational, the prefabricated offices will provide a one-stop shop at the airside where crew members can obtain AIS briefing, meteorological information and make necessary payments at a single point in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

The facility will also accommodate the equipment room for the VSAT network, which is simultaneously being installed by the contractor.

Speaking on this development, Fola Akinkuotu, the managing director of NAMA, said this is part of continuous efforts by the agency to enhance seamless and sustainable communication in the upper airspace, adding that the Satellite Lineup for the VSAT node at NAMA headquarters in Lagos will be completed within the week, while that of Abuja, Port Harcourt and other stations would follow in the next couple of days.

The NAMA boss revealed that the installation of 14 new Very High Frequency (VHF) radio sites, which will ride on the new VSAT network is to commence simultaneously with these installations, even as he expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for its support and intervention leading to the final clearance of the agency’s VSAT equipment at the Apapa port.

Akinkuotu however assured airspace users and the flying public that the Nigerian airspace remained safe, adding that NAMA would continue to upgrade its air traffic management services and procedures to guarantee safety of air navigation in the country … Read More...

Air Peace boss denies accusing government of impoverishing Nigerian airlines

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The Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Allen Onyema has expressed shock at the report credited to him accusing the federal government of impoverishing Nigerian airlines, noting that such report was not done in good faith.

Onyema who granted interview to selected Nigerian journalists in Dubai to mark the inaugural flight of the airline at the weekend said that instead of criticizing government he actually commended the current administration that made it possible for the airline to grow and be able to operate international service.

He wondered what might have motivated the report when while fielding questions from journalists he commended government for removing the tariff on aircraft spares for commercial operation and also five per cent VAT, which has saved domestic carriers billions of naira, adding that without the support of government there would not have been Air Peace airline today.

“I was shocked when I read that report and I dissociate myself from it. I know that journalists do interpretative reporting but I am convinced that the report was not done in good faith, recognizing the fact that I gave government credit many times in the course of the interview for the support it has given us and other airlines. I was shocked.

“I want the reporter to play the tape and show me where I made the statement, accusing government of impoverishing Nigerian airlines. So I totally dissociate myself from the report and I insist that it was not done in good faith,” he said.

During the interview, Onyema in response to a question on aero politics said, “Let me make this clear, Air Peace will never be able to combat international aeropolitics without the support of the government.  We can only combat it if our government supports us. It is … Read More...