Local airlines must show capacity for US flights – Aviation ministry

The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development has said that Nigerian airlines must demonstrate improved capacity and consistency and meet the necessary standards to be able to fly the US and other international routes.

The spokesperson for the ministry, Tunde Moshood, told the PUNCH via a phone that Nigeria was poised to enhance its international aviation footprint.

He noted that Nigerian flag carriers, Air Peace and Air Contractors, had the potential to establish routes to the United States, provided they demonstrated capacity and consistency.

“We already have the BASA (Bilateral Air Service Agreements) in place. It is just for us to have any of our flag carriers that show capacity and consistency.

“If Air Peace and Air Contractors can come to us and say ‘I have a plane to go to the United States’, they can push.

“Qatar and all those airlines that are flying in here (Nigeria), we also have reciprocating BASA to fly. If they can come here, we can also go there. If we can have a national carrier, automatically we will be flying there,” he stated.

Recall that in May 2024, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, announced efforts to reduce international flight prices and ensure local operators dominate international routes, starting with the United States.

He also explained measures being taken to ensure local operators take full control of international routes in no distant future.

Adding that his ministry, through the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Tinubu administration, was on course to break those barriers and make the environment conducive for both local and international airlines to strive.

The Chief Operating Officer of United Nigeria Airlines, Osita Okonkwo, told our correspondent that his airline was progressing towards initiating flights to Texas, USA.

“We are designated to go to the US, Texas in particular. We are going through the process. You know the CAA process can take three to six months. So, that is what we are doing now. We are doing the regulatory, legal, and the commercial side of it. Once that is done, we will make the announcements. It takes some time, but work is going on behind,” he explained.

However, the Managing Director of Aglow Aviation Support Services, Tayo Ojuri, highlighted the need for Nigerian airlines to establish connectivity and partnerships with global aviation alliances, such as Star Alliance or Oneworld.

“These partnerships, known as codeshare agreements, are crucial for distributing passengers and sustaining long-haul routes.

“Which of the Nigerian Airlines have connectivity and codeshare with anybody else? That codeshare with either Star Alliance or Oneworld would help them to distribute passengers,” Ojuri noted.

Source: Punch Newspapers

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