Wednesday 3 April 2013

Foreign airlines awaiting winter approval for flights into Nigeria

Aviation Nigeria

Aviation stakeholders have raised concerns on the circumstance that may face foreign airlines flying into Nigeria as they are yet to have their summer schedule approved, five days after the commencement of the summer season on March 28, 2013.

Aviation experts opine that the international position would deem flights into other countries without getting approval for its winter and summer seasonal schedules from the host countries, would be considered illegal.

The development has also generated concerns among the foreign airlines’ executives and top officials of the Ministry of Aviation, who felt that any further delay might force some of the carriers to consider halting their flight operations into the country so as not to find themselves in an unpleasant situation.

Reports indicate that most of the airlines’ winter schedules expired between March 28 and 31, as regularly placed on each carrier’s schedule.

The approval is usually given days ahead of the expiration of the current season’s schedule in order to avoid a situation where an airline has to ground its flight operations while waiting for approval.
Although most of the foreign airlines have begun implementing their winter schedule, which has yet to be approved by the Ministry of Aviation, a number of them are, however, worried that the delay in the approval process may put them in an unpleasant situation.

A country manager of one of the foreign airlines, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence because of the sensitive nature of the subject said, “This has not happened in a very long time. So, that is why we are worried. The approval comes usually days ahead of the commencement of the new season’s schedule.”

The financial implications of not getting approval for the schedule before flying is that in the event of a crash or major accident, insurance companies can refuse to pay compensation to the affected airline and its passengers as such flights would be regarded as an illegal.

Approval is conventionally issued by the Minister of Aviation on the recommendations of the Schedule Approval Committee comprising officials from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and the Ministry of Aviation.

Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Joe Obi, said the Minister of Aviation had not refused to approve the foreign airlines’ summer schedules, adding that they would be approved as soon as possible.


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