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page 23 business Expert flays ‘mismanagement’ of air service agreements From Abdullateef Aliyu, Lagos An aviation expert and former spokesman of the defunct Nigeria Airways,…

page 23 business

Expert flays ‘mismanagement’ of air service agreements

From Abdullateef Aliyu, Lagos

An aviation expert and former spokesman of the defunct Nigeria Airways, Mr. Chris Aligbe, has decried what he called the mismanagement of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) Nigeria signed with many countries of the world.

Aligbe lamented that since the liquidation of the Nigeria Airways, “authorities of the Ministry of Aviation have arbitrarily allocated slots to various foreign airlines to the detriment of the local airlines.”

BASA is a pact between two nations which allows international commercial air transport services between their territories. In the heyday of the Nigeria Airways, the country signed BASAs with many countries which enabled the carrier to fly into their territories.

However, Aligbe, in an interview with Daily Trust in Lagos, declared that with the death of the Nigeria Airways, the country’s BASAs have been mismanaged by the Ministry of Aviation which took over their management.

“I am sure the Ministry of Aviation was not even prepared for that job function and it is a technical thing, it is not just a simple thing that you get into and start managing properly. So, those who took it over right from 2002 have mismanaged it in a manner that our industry is suffering. They’ve thrown away so many frequencies to foreign airlines, denying our own airlines the opportunity of growth,” he said.

Aligbe argued that the situation underscores the need for the reintroduction of the Nigeria Airways for the country to effectively respond to the various air service agreements it entered with other countries.

He also called for the establishment of a slot allocation committee to handle slot allocations to foreign airlines.

Aligbe, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Melujane Consult said, “So our BASAs have been mismanaged. And recently, the Ministry wrote that the airlines should not pay BASA royalty again. I don’t know where the authority to do that came from, but what it means is that we are losing tremendously in this country.

“Even if you remove BASA, you establish slots, and countries and airports are making more money from slot allocations than they make from royalty. We have written to the Ministry many times that they should let us have the slot allocation system, but they have not acted on it.

“So today we are losing more revenue than we should have gotten from foreign airlines, which is to the advantage of those airlines’ countries.”

Aligbe believed the situation can be addressed with the establishment of a slot allocation committee independent of the Aviation ministry and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority. “It will be a completely independent commercial establishment. We should put in place a system that would earn our country the money we should earn from slots. Other countries are earning a lot of money from slots and we are not earning anything.

“A national carrier would respond to all our BASA rights; it would reciprocate the BASA rights. A national carrier is long overdue in our country,” he maintained.

Etihad Airways reduces baggage charges

By Chris Agabi

Etihad Airways will introduce new baggage policy enhancements in conjunction with the launch of its new Fare Choices tariff structure, effective for tickets issued on or after 14 September 2015, thereby providing more choices and clarity to its guests.

Etihad, in a statement, said the new policy has been introduced to respond to individual customer needs with greater flexibility, and to closely align Etihad Airways with other Etihad Airways partner airlines. The changes will provide greater benefits to guests, with increased rewards for the Etihad Guest Loyalty programme members.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said, “In line with industry best practice, we are moving to a fair and transparent baggage concept. Our new Fare Choices are an easier way for guests to understand what they are paying for, offering clearer pricing, and the flexibility which best suits their travel plans. This also applies to their baggage requirements.”

Most routes will now operate on a “piece concept” basis. This means that customers are entitled to one, two, or three bags, depending on their Fare Choice, route and Etihad Guest membership status.

As part of the policy change, the cost of excess baggage will be dramatically cut on the majority of fares. On some routes the cost of buying an additional 23kg piece of baggage will be reduced by up to 90 per cent, with a further reduction of up to 30 per cent if pre-purchased directly with Etihad Airways up to 24 hours before travel.

Members of the Etihad Guest, Etihad Airways’ award-winning loyalty programme will especially benefit from the new baggage concept, as higher tier members now receive an extra bag or additional weight allowance depending on the market and route.

The new baggage policy highlights increased allowance for Economy Value and Economy Freedom guests on certain routes from 30kg to two pieces of baggage at 23kg per bag, a total allowance of 46kg.

On selected routes, the Economy Class allowance has been increased for all fare choices from 30kg to two pieces of baggage at 23kg per bag.

In premium cabins on certain routes, the allowance has been increased from 40/50kg to two pieces of baggage at 32kg per bag.

Etihad Gold and Platinum members will receive one extra piece of baggage at 32kg on piece concept routes, compared to 15kg and 20kg respectively previously.

For piece concept markets, Etihad Silver members will now receive a minimum of 2 bags of 23kg.

Emirates’ Boeing 777 fleet tops 859,000 flights

By Chris Agabi

Emirates, the world’s largest operator of the U.S-built Boeing 777, celebrated the fleet’s completion of over 859,000 flights, while logging over 4,720,000 flight hours since its first delivery in 1996.

On 3 September, the airline and Boeing marked the 150th Emirates 777 delivery milestone, with a triple delivery of two Boeing 777-300ERs and one Boeing 777 Freighter.

Emirates’ 147-strong Boeing 777 fleet criss-crosses the globe, currently serving 98 destinations on six continents.

“Emirates’ approach to global air travel has created substantial additional demand for U.S-made aircraft and engines, and benefited millions of travellers,” said Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline.

“The Boeing 777 makes up the majority of our fleet, and gives us the range and flexibility to provide non-stop services to almost any city within a 16-hour flying range of our hub in Dubai. Our orders for these efficient jets have come on the back of our steady growth in the U.S. and globally. We are proud to connect U.S. cities to tourism and trade opportunities in destinations across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, which were previously underserved by direct air transport links. It’s clearly a win-win situation when our investments in U.S-made technology, together with our global operations, help to support U.S. jobs and strengthen American prosperity,” Clark said.

Emirates’ multi-billion dollar investments in the Boeing 777 programme over the past 19 years, with committed deliveries for the next decade, continue to support jobs and innovation in the US aerospace manufacturing supply chain. Including its record-setting order in November 2013 for 150 GE-powered Boeing 777Xs, Emirates currently has an order book of 196 Boeing 777s valued at $93 billion at list prices.

FAAN, Council move to stop encroachment on Ilorin Airport

From Abdullateef Aliyu, Lagos

Following persistent encroachment on land belonging to the Ilorin International Airport in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State, the managements of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the local council have moved to resolve the issue.

Daily Trust learnt that the authorities of Ilorin West Local Council, led by the Council Chairman, Tajudeen Zulu Oloje met the Managing Director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma at the FAAN headquarters in Lagos.

Also at the meeting was the manager of Ilorin Airport, Alhaji Abubakar Bibi and other officials of the authority.

The Ilorin Airport manager had persistently complained about encroachment on the airport land which, he pointed out, constitutes a threat to security at the airport.

The airport is not far from the secretariat of the local government along the Gerewu/Lubcon community. It was learnt that many sections of the airport land had been taken over by people who erected structures in the area.

To resolve the issue, FAAN and the Council struck a memorandum of understanding, with the local government chairman promising to prevail on those affected to stop encroaching on the airport land.

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