As the Federal Government continues to grant multiple entries to international airlines operating into the country, an aviation expert, Capt. Dele Ore has stated categorically that it was capable of killing domestic carriers.
This is just as he said that the continuous signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreements, (BASAs), by the Federal Government with several foreign countries among several other unfavourable policies would continue to hamper growth of the airline sub-sector in the country.
The former President Aviation Round Table(ART),who is also an aviation lawyer stated this in an interview at the weekend in Lagos.
To buttress his point, he blasted the Federal Government for granting multiple entries to foreign airlines without any reciprocity from their Nigerian counterparts.
On whether he was not bothered that the Federal Government, the country still went ahead to sign BASA with Qatar despite the fact that Nigerian carriers have not been able to reciprocate the about BASAs signed so far, the former ART boss, stated that there was nothing wrong with signing of BASAs with other countries, but that Nigeria as country must benefit from such arrangements.
The Aviation Lawyer was however silent on BASA between Nigeria Qatar, saying that he was yet to see the details of the agreement
According to him, “Nothing has happened to improve the policies for the airlines. Our policies will soon drown airlines that are operational. We still have multiple entry points for foreign carriers. With that policy, we are killing our domestic carriers. We are indirectly opening up our airspace courtesy of such agreements”.
He continued, “It is only the ground handling companies that are doing well in the sector while others are crawling. We don’t have enough places to train personnel for the sector and nothing has been done in the past six months of Sen. Hadi Sirika as a Minister of State for Aviation to curtail capital flights in the sector”.
Ore declared that bad policy formulations and implementations of the government in the past led to the early collapse of operating airlines in the country, stressing that despite this, such bad policies still continued unabated by the government.
Ore also warned that with the high level of expatriates taking over positions of local technical personnel, the next 10 years might be worse for the Nigerian aviation industry.
He explained that several pilots trained from different aviation colleges in the country and beyond are roaming the streets without jobs, positing that local airlines are getting dispensation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for expatriate quota, which would negatively affect Nigerian professionals in the future.
He decried that as far back as 1984, the former Nigerian Airways had put Nigerians in critical positions, but the reverse was the case now as foreigners had taken over.
In his words, “If care is not taken, soon, we will have half-baked aircraft commanders in the cockpit. The government should come up with a policy that says at least, we must have a Nigerian in the cockpit even if not as a commander, a Nigerian should act as a co-pilot”.
He also lamented that lack of sufficiently trained and type-rated technical personnel in the nation’s aviation industry would often time give rooms for expatriates to take over the jobs of local people.
Abelnews noted that foreign airlines such as: Air France, British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates Airline, Lufthansa and others fly into Nigeria using Lagos, Abuja, Kano. Port Harcourt Enugu, international airports.