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*Nigeria: Aero, Arik Airfares on Lagos-Benin Route Outrageous says Edo Deputy Speaker
By Lateef Lawal
The Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Festus Ebea has described as outrageous the fares being charged by Aero Contractors and Arik Air on the Lagos/Benin routes. Speaking at the just concluded delegates’ conference of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), in Asaba, Delta State, Ebea described the high fares charged on the routes by the airlines as another 'British Airways' price fixing on the domestic routes.
According to the him, charging N26,000 as fare on a thirty five minutes flight was very outrageous and unacceptable and called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) to look into the matter urgently. He declared. “But again I said he who comes to equity must come with clean hands, Arik and Aero the fares they charge between Benin and Lagos, 35 minutes flight is outrageous. But when you fly to Abuja you get lesser fare. What is the NCAA doing about it?” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Aerocontractors Plane
The Deputy Speaker, who was a former Personal Assistant to the managing director of the liquidated Nigeria Airways, while commending the transformation in the aviation sector especially with the attainment of the Category One status, said a lot needed to be done. He remarked that any nation without a national carrier was doomed in the aviation World as it will be difficult to launder her image. “A country that is in dire need of identification, a country that is in dire need of image laundry, we have everything that can showcase that on every front. Even private airlines can exist side by side with a national carrier but I was thinking after the death of Nigeria Airways, allowing private airlines to flourish will answer the question of most of the problems the aviation industry but it is not there. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
On the recent reversal of slot of British Airways by the government, Hon Ebea applauded the action and called for improvement on airport security across the country adding that the airports were porous. “Security is still an issue in the aviation industry. Nigerian airport is the only airport you come to and you will be seeing people you don’t know if they have business being there. You coming out of the arrival hall you are seeing people you cannot even identify”. Ebea called on the government as a matter of urgency address the dearth of pilots and engineers in the country in order to rescue the industry from total collapse.
He noted that in the next two years, most of the ageing pilots and engineers in the system would have voluntarily retired and urged government to further fund the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria, in order to train pilots there instead of sending them to South Africa.
“We still need to do more in terms of training to ensure there is sustainability in the industry. People go to South Africa, they want to become pilots, within two years they are back, we don’t have that because I still know that in as much as we still give kudos to the present administration for sustaining training in NCAT, I don’t think they are graduating as at when due because of lack of training equipment”
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
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