Nigeria to review BASA agreement with UK – BusinessDay

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Stella Oduah

Stella Oduah

Stella Oduah, Minister of Aviation, has called for a review of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

A Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) is an agreement signed by two nations to allow international commercial air transport services between their territories.

She made the call on Monday in Abuja at the ongoing public hearing by the Senate Committee on Aviation looking into the “violation of aviation laws and practices by foreign airlines in Nigeria.”

Oduah told the committee that she called for a review of the agreement after realising that British Airways (B.A) and Virgin Atlantic had defaulted in the agreement.

She said that available analysis and data showed that many destinations much farther than Nigeria “command less fares regardless of whether it is first, business or economy classes.

“Upon becoming aware of this apparent and unjustified disparity, I directed the relevant agency, the NCAA, under my ministry to analyse the market and provide information on the veracity or otherwise of this rather apparent difference.

“Nigeria supports profitable operations when the profits are reasonable but rejects exploitation and unreasonable excessive profiteering by exploiting her people.

“We are still on this issue and your voice from the Senate is welcome.”

Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Hope Uzodinma (PDP-Imo), had sought clarifications on what the BASA agreement stipulated, in order to know if any country defaulted and the penalty.

Uzodinma then directed that the review be made available to the committee within the next 14 days.

The British Airways country manager for Nigeria, Kolawale Olayinka, told the committee that airfares could only reduce in Nigeria if more airlines were allowed into the country.

“Prices on airfares can come down in Nigeria only if there is enough supply. Demand is high but supply is low in Nigeria unlike in the other countries.

“So increase supply and the prices will tumble down. Open up the skies let more airlines come into Nigeria and the prices will crash tomorrow.”

According to Olayinka, other factors responsible for high fares in Nigeria include landing and parking fees as well as the difference in the environment where the airlines operate.

The committee was, however, not satisfied with his explanation while Olayinka said he could not divulge any further information publicly since his competitors were also at the hearing.

Olayinka, however, pledged to make available to the committee on Tuesday a detailed presentation in writing which would answer all questions raised by the members.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government in its bid to reposition the aviation sector to contribute its quota to the growth of the economy has unveiled a master plan and implementation framework that will guarantee safe, secure, profitable and self-sustaining world class industry.

In : Business