In a bid to stem huge capital flight by foreign airlines, domestic airline operators have asked the Federal Government to abolish the ‘multiple entry’ points granted foreign carriers flying into Nigeria, as such lopsided policy is injurious to the nation’s economy.
Apart from the huge capital flight the multiple entry policy has occasioned, they say allowing it to continue may lead to the collapse of many domestic carriers, as domestic airlines lose over N700 million annually to this lopsidedness.
Currently, many of the foreign airlines operate beyond Lagos, to Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja and Enugu.
The operators and analysts are of the opinion that they should not be allowed to operate beyond Lagos in order for domestic carriers to distribute and bring passengers from the cities and hinterlands.
Allen Onyema, chairman, Air Peace, says it is unpatriotic to allow foreign carriers feed fat on lucrative routes in Nigeria under the cover of a ‘lopsided’ Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA), which is not in the best interest of indigenous carriers and the economy.
“Apart from the appointment of somebody with deep knowledge of aviation as minister, government must urgently address the problem of multiple entry points granted foreign carriers into Nigeria. It is one of the missteps by government, and it responsible for under-development of the industry.
“This is unfortunate and highly disappointing for government to allow it to continue. It is very unfortunate for any government that is serious about development of local capacity to continue to allow this multiple entry point to thrive. If it continues it is going to kill the domestic sector of the aviation industry,” he said.
Also speaking, Noggie Meggison, president, JedAir and chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria, said government should immediately review the policy in order for domestic market to boom.