Monday, March 11, 2013

■ NIGERIA: Stormy weather ahead as Senate to proceed with review of all BASAs, Civil Aviation Act.

NigeriaThe Nigerian Senate is to embark on a review of all Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) signed with foreign countries with the Open Skies agreement signed with the US also up for scrutiny. The Senate claims that the BASAs have been heavily skewed in favour of other countries' interests at the detriment of Nigeria's and its domestic airlines.

Lagos Murtala Muhammed Intl Airport
Speaking at the commissioning of the remodelled Benin Airport Terminal Building at the weekend, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma, stated that Nigeria's limited capacity for reciprocity was working against the country's interests:
I can tell you that we are looking into the entire system of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), where royalties are being paid or where Open Skies Agreements have been signed and look at how it will benefit Nigeria and in due course we are coming out with what will be beneficial to our country and what will protect our national interest. 

The most important thing you will agree with me is that in this industry as it has to do with what is obtainable in other parts of the world, we have little or no capacity for reciprocity. So we must make a deliberate policy that will also make our economy not wrecked by western world or other parts of  the world, " he said.
Source [Leadership]

It is claimed that current BASAs permitted foreign carriers to service numerous points in Nigeria, thereby depriving the nation's domestic fleet of feeder traffic. 

Also up for review is the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act of 2006 which is to be modified to keep the sector in line with global aviation standards and to also encourage indigenous enterprises.

However, some concern has been raised at any possible amendments that would affect the autonomy of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) - a corner stone requirement for ICAO rated Category 1 countries. Should the NCAA lose any of its powers and subsequently its Cat 1 status, Nigerian air carriers would lose their right to operate to the United States with their own aircraft.

Championed by late Nigeria President Umaru Yar'Adua, it was on the basis of the Civil Aviation Act of 2006 founding an autonomous NCAA that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in 2010, granted Nigeria Category 1 rating.