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Airline Operators threaten to drag FG to court

L:R: AON Vice President, Allen Onyema, ART President, Dr. Gbenga Olowo, Mr. Yomi Jones and Captain Prex Paul-Beni at the ART Breakfast Business Meeting in Lagos. Picture:Nosa Aituamen

Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, have threatened to drag the Federal Government to court over the continued granting of multiple entries to foreign airlines into the country.

President of AON, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa while speaking at the First Quarter Breakfast Business Meeting of the Aviation RoundTable Safety Initiative, ART in Lagos said, such multiple entries amounted to foreign airlines operating domestic routes in the country and killing their business.

Granting multiple entry points to foreign airlines means allowing the airlines to land and take from different airports at different times and days as requested.

However, domestic airlines in the country say, this amounted to foreign airlines embarking on domestic operations thereby denying them revenue on the domestic routes.

President, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa represented by his Vice President, Mr. Allen Onyema emphasized that this action of the government was inimical to the growth of local airlines.

According to him, multiple entries would impoverish the Nigerian economy through capital flights, loss of jobs for the youths, and failure to transfer technology and as well as destroy the local aviation market.

“Except something is done and done immediately, AON is no longer ready to wait for another one month for this thing to be rescinded, this is a kind of second colonization, we refuse it so, the earlier they stop, the better”.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika whose address was read by a member of the Aviation Roundtable Initiative, ART, Group Captain John Ojikutu retired, justified the granting of multiple entries.

According to him, it would expand the business, grow the economy of foreign airlines as well as generate revenue for the country.

“It also generates revenue for the country as foreign airlines are able to land at different airports connecting different area of the country to foreign countries thereby promoting commercial trade, tourism and friendly relations”.

President of ART, Dr. Gbenga Olowo in his opening remarks, described multiple points as good politics but bad economies.

“As an Industry, zero participation in the international sector, at the domestic sector, it is completely eroded through domestic entry multiple points”.

The theme of the meeting is: ‘Economic Implications of Multiple Entry Points by Foreign Airlines into Nigeria’.

Reporting by Nosa Aituamen, editing by Daniel Adejo.