British, Egypt, Turkish Airs fly undesirable planes in Nigeria — FG – Daily Trust

The Federal Government has said that British Airways as well as Egypt and Turkish Airlines operate with undesirable aircraft in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

The minister said the airlines put better aircraft on other routes despite the fact that the Nigerian routes pay them more.

Sirika said the Federal Government had been talking “seriously” to the affected airlines to ensure they change their fleets.

He however, explained that some of the airlines were constrained “by some of the infrastructure we have in place. For example, Emirate will love to bring the kind of aircraft they fly around the world, but the apron in Abuja is not supporting that service.

“That is why the aircraft they take to Lagos is different from the one they take to Abuja. That inadequacy is also being addressed and once that is done, we will have befiting aircraft coming. This has always been a challenge.”

The minister also confirmed that the government had released $300m out of the $600m of the airlines fund stock in Nigeria to pay foreign airlines to demonstrate its commitment to the sector.

The minister, who was answering a question on the foreign carriers threatening to leave Nigeria, said: “It’s a response to how the industry is doing globally, specially Nigeria, with recession, our inability to get the airlines to repatriate in their currency that they earn through sales of tickets.

“Aviation industry is dollar denominated; you buy air craft in dollar, you service in dollar, you train your crew in dollar, you do every thing in dollar. And we simply don’t have the dollar to pay these airlines.

“But now, as we’re talking, government, through the CBN, has made available $300m out of the $600m of the airlines fund stock in Nigeria to pay the airlines to demonstrate its commitment to the sector. And with devaluation, $600m could be $1bn. With government’s intervention, they’ve been given $300 million gradually, we’ll clear everything, and once that happens, they’re not going to go anywhere.

The minister disclosed that by next Wednesday, the government would appoint a transaction adviser for national carrier, saying “once that is in place, Nigerians will have options. There will be competition, good aircraft and this will bring the price down.”