By Louis Ibah .
The Nigerian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mr. Mohammed Remi is seeking the participation of more Nigerian air lines in the air lifting of cargo and passengers on the Nigeria – UEA route lamenting the huge loses to the nation’s economy on the monopoly enjoyed over the years by Emirates and Etihad on that route.
Remi, who spoke during a reception organised late Sunday to welcome Medview Airlines inaugural flight to Dubai said the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) signed by the two countries allowed for carriers from both countries to operate from Lagos and Abuja into Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Over the weekend, about 197 passengers flew on the Medview Airline’s Lagos – Abuja – Dubai inaugural flight which was operated using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Remi described the patronage as a feat considering that it amounted to an over 80 percent passenger capacity on the aircraft. But he regretted that the essence of the BASA which targeted the growth and prosperity of Nigerian Carrier, with job creation to local pilots, cabin crew, travel and tour agents and the economy appear not to have been realised as those route were left to the two UAE carriers to operate as monopoly. He therefore welcomed the entry of Medview into the Dubai route and expressed the optimism that another carrier will fly into Abu Dhabi. Medview Airlin CEO, Mr. Muneer Bankole in his speech decried the lack of cooperation from the Federal government for local airlines wishing to make a foray into international routes. Bankole said the management of the airline went through very difficult situations and bottle necks created by the UEA government to frustrate their entry but that they were able to surmount those challenges the hard way as the Nigerian government failed to give them the needed support. Said Bankole, “Dubai is the new world, this is where everyone is coming to. But we don’t have the backing of the government like Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, British Airways. We passed through a lot of hurdles, but we thank God that we were able to make it. We have brought a Nigerian product to Dubai and we urge Nigerians to patronise the airline operation on this route,” he added. Bankole said the entry of the airline on the Lagos – Abuja – Dubai route will assist boost trade, education, and tourism between both countries. On-board the inaugural flight were the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Jumai Al Hassan; the Managing Director of Med-View Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole; Super Eagles striker, Odion Igalo; the representatives of the Minister of State for Aviation; representative of the Oba of Lagos, top officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and some aviation Journalists.
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