• Another airline set to pull out

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika has admitted that in view of the current economic realities, it had become difficult for federal government to fund the aviation sector.
Sirika stated this yesterday when he appeared before the House Committee on Aviation on the need to rescue the airline industry from imminent collapse.
He said the sector had find itself in an economic quagmire whereby airports were no longer living up to standard again.
Sirika further reiterated that there was need to concession some airports in the country to check leakages and optimize income generation in the sector.
The minister assured that concession will make these airports world standards.
Sirika disclosed that there was no plan to retrench workers in the sector as allegedly reported.
He maintained that in view of the recession, there was no plan to sell or privatize the airports, but said they would be concessioned.
According to him, “we are not ready to sell or privatize our airports, but we will concession them to standard. The concession process will be in the open. No secrecy in the bidding”, he assured.
In his opening remarks to declare the event open, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara said that considering the vibrant and economical relevance of the aviation sector to the country, the sector can not be allowed to be in the media for the negative reason.
Represented by his deputy, Yusuf Lasun, Dogara revealed that in 2014, the sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product was about $0.7billion and $685million in 2015.
He assured that with the mandate for oversight of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the National Assembly will continue to give the aviation sector and the ministry the attention they deserve.
The National President, Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association, Benjamin Okeowo explained that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN was operating in about 21 airports of which four were viable.
While speaking on the concession idea being proposed, the House Committee Chairman on Aviation, Hon Nkiruka Onyejiocha urged the minister to comply with FAAN Act.

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Emirates Airline may pull out of Nigeria
Emirates Airline says it could reduce the frequency of its flights to African cities or cut routes completely if current economic and financial challenges on the continent continued.
President of the airline, Tim Clark announced this to reporters on the sidelines of an International Air Transport Association event in Dubai yesterday.
In particular, the airline stated that it might readjust its operations in Nigeria due to the difficulty of operating with huge loss in the country.
Clark said foreign airlines flying to Africa now refuel abroad because jet fuel supplies had become more expensive and scarce in some African countries.
“In certain African countries, the currencies have really gone down, so we’re reflecting on a number of these to look at where it’s just not worth us to travel,” Clark said.
He added that Emirates’ load factor – a measure of capacity utitlisation – for the rest of 2016 and 2017, would probably be in the mid-70s to low-80s in percentage terms.
Clark, however, said there would be some peaks and troughs in that time.
Emirates has started a detour to Accra, Ghana, to refuel its daily Abuja-bound flight, a spokesman said last month.
The airline had already cut its twice-daily flights to Lagos and Abuja to just one.
Aero and First Nation Airways had at different times suspended their scheduled services in Nigeria.
Other airlines may join as the economy bites harder and as they find it difficult to continue to maintain their aircraft and purchase aviation fuel in Nigeria at a very exorbitant rate.

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