• Thursday, July 18, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Aviation: Nigeria moves to break monopoly on United States, South America routes

Aviation: Nigeria moves to break monopoly on United States, South America routes

Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, has said the Federal Government has began the process of empowering Nigerian airlines to operate international routes especially the United States and South American countries.

The minister stated this in a YouTube interview with O’tega Ogra titled, “Unfiltered: The Big Interview”.

At the YouTube interview, Keyamo said the government is putting plans in place for domestic airlines in the country to commence direct flight operations to both the US and South America.

Read also:  Increase in passengers, cargo traffic seen boosting airlines’ 2024 profits

He said, “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. 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.

“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. That was why Nigerians were buying tickets for as much as N15m to N16m at some points for business class tickets just for to and fro. So we saw that this was an issue we could easily resolve.”

Keyamo said the that was why the federal government put its foot on the ground, dusted off the BASA, and ensured that BASAs were respected, adding that when the foreign airlines later conceded that Air Peace could start flying the routes, things changed.

Read also: Airlines cancel, delay flights over heavy downpour

“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. That is just one aspect of helping them (Local airlines) to enforce the BASA by telling the countries that these are our flight 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,” he explained.