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Aviation: Nigeria empowering local airlines to break monopoly on US, South American routes –Minister

Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development (l) During the Interview with O’tega Ogra, SSA to the President on Digital/New Media, in Abuja, FCT

*Festus Keyamo, SAN, Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, discloses the Federal Government of Nigeria has commenced the process of empowering local airlines to operate international routes, especially the United States and South American countries

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part efforts at widening the scope of operations of Nigerian airlines on international routes, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, Honourable Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, says the Federal Government has commenced the process of empowering indigenous airlines to operate international routes, especially the United States (US) and South American countries.

ConsumerConnect reports Keyamo stated this while featuring as a guest in a recent interview with O’tega Ogra, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Digital/New Media, titled, “Unfiltered: The Big Interview” via his verified social media channel.

The Minister reportedly disclosed the Nigerian Government is putting together plans plans for domestic airlines to activate direct flight operations to both the US and South America.

“BASA are negotiated between different sovereigns. So, it is when you get your BASA and your reciprocal rights, you can now give it to your local operators and ensure that they are enforced as per the foreign entities,” Keyamo noted in the interview.

He also explained: “So we did that; we wrote several letters; we travelled back and forth because we knew that that was what we could use to bring down prices.

“The only thing that can bring down prices in any market is competition. It is not a monopoly.”

The Minister said: “The British Airways have enjoyed those routes for so many years unchallenged.

“There were attempts by local airlines in the past to run the routes, but they muscled them out of the routes.”

He equally stated: “That was why Nigerians were buying tickets for as much as N15million to N16million at some points for business class tickets just for to and fro.

“So we saw that this was an issue we could easily resolve.”

The Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development asserted that was why the Federal Government of Nigeria put its foot on the ground, dusted off the BASAs, and ensured that BASAs were respected.

When the foreign airlines later conceded that Air Peace could start flying the routes, things changed, he stated.

Keyamo said: “We are looking at the American routes and the South American routes.

“Nobody is even flying to South America at all now. But something is in the offing for us to start that route now.”

The Minister averred: “That is just one aspect of helping them (local airlines) to enforce the BASA by telling the countries that these are our flag carriers so that they can respect them as Nigeria representatives, not as just private businesses in the country.

“But the second aspect of that is to ensure that these airlines can also have the capacity after giving them the routes, to be able to service the international routes.”

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