By Lawani Mikairu
Air routes granted an airline to fly into any country are like oil block licenses that cannot be allowed to lay waste and unused. If unused, they are immediately allocated to another airline who is willing to use them. This was the submission of former Secretary General, African Airlines Association, AFRAA, Mr. Nike Fadugba.
Fadugba made the submission at this year’s seminar of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents, LAAC in Lagos, with the Theme: “Boosting Aviation Investment Through Policy”. According to him, routes are in high demands among airlines world wide and an airline can even sell them to boost its financial solvency.
He revealed at the seminar that the default Nigeria Airways had more than Eighteen lucrative routes to Europe and America that it could not use but would have sold to other capable airlines who wanted them, and stay afloat. He therefore advised Nigeria domestic airlines who have the opportunity of having international routes to use them as no country will allow them to remain unused.
Fadugba also said : “I want to appeal to the federal government of Nigeria airlines. Over the past 15 to 20 years since the demise of Nigerian airways, and I regret the liquidation of Nigerian airways, I did not believe it was necessary, no Nigeria airline has been able to fill the vacum. Up till today I believe it was not necessary. Kenya airways were turned around and it was in a worse position than Nigerian airways at the time, so we could have saved it but we didn’t”.
“However, since Nigerian airways was liquidated there was no airline to reciprocate on bilateral air service agreements, so foreign airlines gained a huge advantage over Nigerian airlines. But now we need to sit down, we need to review the situation. Don’t forget an air route to Nigeria is like an oil block, it has economic value, we cannot just be giving them away free of charge”.
“ These days people don’t like to pay for BASAs but the fact is until we have a stronger airline industry in Nigeria, we need to review the setup because all airlines in Nigeria including Air Peace are complaining that the system today is unfair, it is not in our interest”, he added.