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Airline operators threaten litigation over multiple entries for foreign airlines


Airline operators threaten litigation over multiple entries for foreign airlines

Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has threatened to sue the Federal Government over continued multiple entries granted to foreign airlines into various international airports in the country.

The President of AON, Alhaji Yunusa Abdulmunaf, made this known during its First Quarter Breakfast Business Meeting in Lagos on Thursday.

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that the event was organised by the Aviation Round Table (ART) with the theme: ‘Economic Implications of Multiple Entry Points by Foreign Airlines Into Nigeria.”

VMT NEWS reports that the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had said that although the multiple entries granted to foreign airlines was good for the economy, it was putting pressure on the country’s foreign exchange.

Abdulmunaf said that the body has decided to challenge government in the court of law on the current policy should the multiple entries granted  to airlines was not addressed.

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The president, represented by Mr Allen Onyema, Vice President of AON, said that the body would in the next few days meet with the aviation minister to deliberate on the issue.

He lamented that billions of naira was being lost annually to multiple designations granted the foreign carriers.

Abdulmunaf warned that if the policy continued unabated, the domestic airlines would die, while the foreign airlines would eventually take over the domestic market.

The AON chief insisted that the multiple designations was one of the greatest disservice to the Nigerian economy and its people.

He said: “All the foreign airlines that come into Nigeria everyday, the Central Bank Governor cries about the amount of money being repatriated abroad.

“We are talking about the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country, but the foreign airlines are removing billions of dollars every year from this country.

“Whereas, airlines in the country have been hassled with lots of requests on how to repatriate dollars into the system. Where am I going to get it from?

“Yet, we are creating more avenues for these things to happen by giving multiple destinations to these foreign airlines.

“All the foreign airlines that come to this country, maybe about 20 or 30 of them have not been able to employ more than 150,000 Nigerians.”

Abdulmunaf noted that Air Peace alone employs over 4,000 people directly, adding that it would take foreign airlines another 60 years to generate 4,000 jobs.

Also, Dr Gabriel Olowo, President of ART, said that foreign airlines were gradually taking over the domestic market with continuous approvals for multiple entries.

“The damages of multiple entries into Nigeria is huge. Britain for instance has 21 flights into Nigeria weekly.

“European Unions have 43 frequencies every week into Nigeria. Also the Middle East has 56 flights weekly into multiple entries into Nigeria.”

Olowo noted that, as things are today, the country had zero participation in the international sector as an industry and the domestic sector was eroded through multiple entries into Nigeria.

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