MINISTER of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that the federal government would give consideration to requests by foreign airlines for increased flight frequencies as long as the nation’s interests are not compromised. Besides, pledged improve the economic and operational viability of the nation’s designated international airports by creating the enabling environment for international airlines operating in Nigeria to use them. Senator Sirika, who spoke while receiving Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil in his office, recently said the county’s ‘‘relationship with foreign airlines would be based strictly on the Bilateral Air Services Agreements with the Airline’s home governments.’’ A statement signed and made available to Nigerian Pilot by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, in the ministry, James Odaudu noted that the Minister also informed the envoy of government’s
determination to revamp the aviation sector through concessioning of its airports, beginning with “the big four” in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt. The concession, according him to is to address issues of infrastructure, and ensure world class maintenance, in addition commended the cordial relationship that exists between Nigeria and Turkey, and condemned the recent coup attempt in that country describing it ‘‘as undesirable and anti-development.’’ For his part the Turkish Ambassador, HE Hakan Cakil told the Minister that he was in the ministry to express his country’s gratitude for the excellent relationship between the two countries, especially in the aviation sector, and to explore more areas of cooperation. He requested, on behalf of the Turkish Airlines for more frequencies in its operations in Nigeria, saying that with ‘‘the nation’s population and air traffic volume, the request can be granted for mutual benefits.’’ Ambassador Cakil also commended the ‘‘Nigerian
government for the show of support for his country during its trying periods, especially the recent attempt by subversive elements to derail the course of democratic governance.’’ Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation has promised to do whatever it takes to make domestic airlines more competitive with their foreign counterparts in the airlift of Nigerian Christian pilgrims. Reacting to a request by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, Dr. Tor Uja during a courtesy visit, Senator Hadi Sirika told him that the primary purpose of the ministry was to promote the development of the sector and supporting local airlines to operate in the best possible environment. Dr. Uja who embarked on the visit to give adequate support to the local airlines to enable them compete with their foreign counterparts in the airlift of Nigerian Christian pilgrims, lamenting that the situation where foreign airlines account for almost 100% of pilgrimage operations does not portray the nation well.

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