Tuesday, April 9, 2013

■ NIGERIA: Ghana's Minister of Transport decries Nigeria's double-talk regarding the granting of traffic rights.

NigeriaGhana's Minister of Transport, Dzifa Attivor, has bemoaned Nigeria's inaction in granting Ghanaian airlines rights to operate into Nigerian airports, despite the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to the Yamoussoukro Agreement which concerns the liberalisation of access to air transport markets in Africa (the Yamoussoukro Decision) and which entered into force on 12 August 2000. The Yamoussoukro Decision takes precedence over any multilateral or bilateral agreements on air services between States Parties which are incompatible with the Decision.

Speaking to Ghana's CitifmOnline Radio, Ms Attivor said that she is "unhappy" about the situation and believes Nigeria is not being fair to Ghana as their commercial airlines are allowed to operate freely into Accra, most notably Arik Air (W3) and AeroContractors (AJ).
Ghana's Minister of Transport,
Dzifa Attivor
The Yamoussoukro declaration is not being fully implemented; you know currently local airlines in Ghana wish to fly to Nigeria but we some challenges even though the registered airlines in Nigeria do come here (Ghana), we have challenges with our airlines flying to Nigeria. These are some of the challenges that leadership at AFCAC has to address because we all signed to the declaration to provide liberalized airspace so I don’t know why some countries are not prepared to adhere to what they themselves signed.
Source [CitiFM]

Ms Attivor expressed hope that the newly elected Chairman of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Air-Commodore Kwame Mamphey (Rtd), would engage Nigeria in opening its airspace to Ghanaian, and regional, operators.

With Africa's largest untapped passenger market, Nigeria is understandably weary of granting excessive rights to its cities, given that the country currently only has one airline genuinely capable of reciprocating services on regional and international routes, Arik Air (W3).

A recent editorial in Nigerian daily, The Leadership, echoed Ms Attivor's sentiments, but attacked the Nigerian Aviation Ministry's failure to grant Emirates (EK) and Turkish Airlines (TK) rights to operate into the Northern Nigerian city of Kano, despite having gone on record as saying their flights would have commenced before the end of March.
Nigerian Minister of Aviation,  Stella Oduah
Nigerian Minister of Aviation,
Princess Stella Oduah
"On the matter of documentation and documents, there is another worrisome situation in the aviation ministry -- the alleged non-signing of new operating guidelines for foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, a six-monthly approval given to airlines to continue flying within Nigeria's airspace; this time the Foreign Airline Schedule Approval has been delayed, awaiting the minister's signature. If this is true, the implication is that foreign airlines are currently flying illegally within the country. The ministry has, however, denied the allegation, asserting that the process was "in progress".

We urge the minister to quickly resolve these two issues, especially the thorny one concerning the granting of approvals to Emirates and Turkish airlines to fly to Kano.
Source [Leadership]

Nigeria is set to embark on a review of all its Bilateral Air Services Agreements and Treaties in the coming months, as it alleges that most agreements are skewed in favour of foreign countries at the expense of both the Nigerian state and populace at large. An audit of Nigeria's BASA Fund has also been called for as local pilots suggest that the funds have been abused by both local government and by foreign airlines "who know the loopholes and how to exploit them for their gain".