Friday 9 November 2012

No Attempt at Northern Marginalization - Aviation Ministry

Sky Watch Nigeria

The swift changes that have been recently witnessed in the aviation sector has not been entirely hitch free, as like every other government socio-economic entity, it embraces its share of criticisms and sometimes opposition. A recent, and still on-going being an accusation towards the ministry of aviation regarding the refusal of landing rights to certain airports, and a marginalized citing of cargo terminals.

There were several statements by party officials, government officials and the general public to support and counter these arguements as the accusation went viral on the media. Most arguements however were based on unconfirmed information lacking the presence of a clear and factual position concerning the accusations held. Reacting to this the General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigerian, Hon. Yakubu Dati issued a press release identifying key areas of relative dispute and citing supporting information towards clarifying these disputes.

On the alleged refusal to grant landing rights to Emirates and Etihad Airlines, Hon. Yakubu Dati through his press release stated that the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), clearly grants and entitles these airlines to landing rights at Lagos, Abuja and Kano International airports with an equal  entitlement to operate cargo services at these destinations. The airlines which have been used to generated controversy, Emirates and Etihad he however stated have not made indications to take up landing rights, and continue cargo operations in Kano in line with the BASA agreement.
A similar accusation leveled at the Minister of Aviation was with regard to Turkish Airways, Hon. Dati disclosed that the Ministry of Aviation  had granted approval to Turkish Airways to also operate in Makia, Kano. The approval which was granted on 1st of August 2012, also enjoined the airline to partner with the local carrier, IRS on the Kano route.

Another argument for which clarification became necessary in the press release was the charge that a Cargo Terminal meant for the North East geo-political zone was diverted to Asaba. Reacting to this the communications general manager made clear to note that the proposed designated terminals were Cargo terminal at Port-Harcourt Airport, Cargo terminal at Kano airport, Cargo terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Cargo terminal at Lagos airport, Cargo terminal at Asaba, Owerri and Calabar airports. Others being  Cargo terminals at Yola, Jos, Makurdi, Jalingo, Maiduguri, Ilorin and Akure airports.
Other charges addressed by Hon. Dati include the denial of Skyline Limited, a foreign airline to land at the Kano airport. Responding to this he pointed out that the Ministry of Aviation had no knowledge or record of such existing airline.
While speaking Hon. Yakubu Dati concluded with the need for information verification by stakeholders and the general public to avoid the dangers associated to mis-information.


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