Fly Nigeria policy will deepen capacity in aviation

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Air Nigeria

The Managing Director of Air Nigeria, Kinfe Kahssaye, has tipped Nigeria’s aviation sector to grow phenomenally if the Fly Nigeria policy is encouraged.

Nigerian carriers in 2009 had sent a memo to the Federal Government seeking to make compulsory flying Nigerian airlines by political office holders travelling abroad.

Christened ‘Fly Nigeria Policy: Patronage of Indigenous Airlines by Federal Public Officers’,  it sought the federal executive council’s approval for the introduction of a policy that will make it compulsory for all federal public officers to patronise Nigerian airline operators when undertaking official trips overseas on routes operated by the indigenous Nigerian airlines.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, Kahssaye said that while the legislation would make government-related travelers fly the Nigerian carriers on any route they are flying, other carriers would be forced to have a code-share or interlining agreement with “our airlines so that they can share revenues and be competitive on international routes.”

Kahssaye noted also that globally, the aviation industry is not attractive to investors and stressed the need for government’s support to grow the sector.

He maintained that for the airlines to compete with their counterparts in the world, “there is a need for more financial support from the government.”

He noted that between 2000 and 2010, the global aviation industry recorded a massive loss of $N56 billion, adding that the act, if approved, would position the country’s airlines in good stead.

“This is an industry that is not profitable. There is a need for the government to play a leading role for the sector to grow and the Fly Nigeria Act will go a long way in enhancing this and making our industry highly competitive, well-positioned and one of the best in the next 15 years,” he said.

Also, speaking, the head, Zenith Travels, Olumide Ohunayo recalled that the act emanated from the United States in the 1970s with Fly American Act, which he said was primarily to protect the country’s local airlines.

He explained that the revenue accruing from the Act would be more than the one currently generated from the Bilateral Air Services Agreement.

The Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren also said that the policy should be encouraged.

But he also advised local airlines to also build capacity, acquire modern aircraft and provide quality services as offered by foreign carriers.

In : Business

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