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*BASA Agreement: Nigeria Warns Britain
.....Arik Air cries for justice, as minister warns BA and Virgin Atlantic over airfares.
By Nosa Osula-Aituamen
One of the Nigerian airlines, Arik Air has petitioned the National Assembly over the Bi-lateral Air Services Agreement with Britain.
The airline in its petition to the two Committees on aviation in the upper and lower chambers of the House accused Britain of depriving Nigerian airlines from benefitting from the BASA agreement.
At a news conference in Lagos, Chairman of the Arik Airline, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide said the British Authority had refused them slots into their airports from Abuja which was a violation of the agreement signed between both countries.
He noted that both countries have 21 slots each as signed in the agreement but while Britain was making use of their slots freely, Nigerian airlines were made to pay for the use of their slots.
The chairman further explained that the airline was given seven slots from Lagos to London and another seven slots for Abuja to London, adding that the airline even went further to ask for seven weekly slots but that Arik Air was told that other carriers were interested in that. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
In all he explained that Nigeria was to operate 21 slots into Britain while Britain do same in Nigeria.
He lamented that when it was time for them to fly from Abuja to London; the British government told them that there are no slots and that at that point the airline has to rent slots from the British Midland International (BMI) at £1.4 million between 2009 and 2010 during winter, adding that the airline paid an initial deposit of £600,000.
He further explained that the airline pays £52,250,000 monthly to BMI and after the expiration of that, the company increased it from £52,250,000 monthly to £90,000 per month and that when the airline tried to negotiate the amount, BMI refused to shift ground.
Sir Arumemi-Ikhide emphasized when efforts to reason with the Department of Transportation in that country failed, the airline had to suspend its Abuja-London flights as the operational cost was too heavy for them to bear.
He appealed to the Federal Government to rise up and be resolute in protecting the interest of its people and businesses, adding that the BASA agreement must be reviewed to avoid discrepancies. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane
According to, “What they are simply telling us is that we should ask our government to protect the carriers from Nigeria. We in Arik feel bad because they do not have respect for our country”
Sir Arumemi-Ikhide said that a meeting has been scheduled between the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria to discuss the issue with a view to finding a lasting solution to the lopsidedness in the BASA agreement.
In a swift reaction, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah says the Federal Government would no longer tolerate the inequitable treatment meted out to Arik Air in denying its fleet access into Heathrow Airport from Abuja.
She noted in a statement that as a result, the airline had been compelled to discontinue its flight operations from Abuja to Heathrow which had impacted negatively on the passengers on this route. ( Continues below….. )
According to the aviation minister, steps are also being taken to stop the discriminatory and unacceptable prices of air fares between the Lagos-London and Abuja-London Routes, which had created Regional fare disparity and imbalance.
She identified British Airways and Virgin Atlantic as those promoting the imbalance. According to her, the Ministry condemns this practice in its totality and would take all necessary action to protect Nigerian citizens from exploitation that arises from a price regime that was highly restrictive and discriminatory.
Princess Oduah noted that the Lagos-London Route is one of the highest and most lucrative yields and ought to attract one of the lowest fares in the region.
She assured Nigerians that appropriate action is being taken in this regard to redress the situation.
Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)
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