Sunday, March 17, 2013

► NIGERIA: Emirates, Turkish Airlines granted rights to Kano; flights to begin by end of March says Princess Stella.

EmiratesTurkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines (TK) and Emirates (EK) will commence services to the northern Nigerian city of Kano before month-end according to Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah. Princess Oduah made the remarks during the recent opening of the newly renovated and expanded international terminal at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA).

According to PRnews, the minister promised Kano Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Abdullahi Bayero that before the end of March, the two international airlines would have commenced operations to MAKIA. She also revealed that plans have been concluded to build a new Cargo Terminal at MAKIA to boost exports.

Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso took the initiative to appeal to the Aviation Minister to look into the case of ASKY and Ethiopian Airlines who also have indicated interest in operating to MAKIA, adding that his administration will continue to support the Ministry of Aviation so as to ensure that MAKIA regain its lost glory.

The granting of additional rights to foreign carriers to service Nigerian cities has been a thorny issue for the Nigerian civil aviation authorities with various international carriers - specifically Emirates (EK), Etihad (EY) and Turkish Airlines (TK) - having allegedly been denied requests to start/increase flights to Lagos, Abuja and Kano by Nigerian Aviation Minister Stella Oduah-Ogiewonyi and instead told to look to Enugu as an alternative; a charge the Minister later refuted.

Nigeria has recently noted that it would renegotiate its numerous Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) under the pretext that the agreements often benefited foreign carriers at the expense of Nigerians and Nigerian state interests owing to Nigeria's inability to adequately operate its own international airlines.

A recent report claims that 20 international airlines operating to Nigeria generated almost USD1billion (NGN158.1billion) in revenue from ticket sales in 2012 alone with British Airways (BA), Emirates (EK), Etihad Airways (EY) and Qatar Airways (QR) leading the pack.