By Louis Iba
THE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has received fresh requests from 15 countries indicating their interest to sign new Bi- lateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) that allows their national carriers fly into Nigeria.
Muhtar Usman, Director General of NCAA, who spoke at the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) annual seminar in Lagos yesterday also said 13 other countries had lined up proposals to renegotiate their BASA deals with Nigeria.
Usman linked the surge in the number of foreign countries expressing interest to do business with Nigeria to the various reform programmes embarked upon by the Feder- al Government in the aviation sector, which he noted, had boosted infrastructure and safety in the industry.
“At present, a lot of foreign airlines are finding Nigeria an investor’s basket,” said Us- man.
“A total of 15 countries have so far indicated their preparedness to sign BASA with our country, while 13 others are on the threshold waiting for renegotiation of their ex- isting BASAs,” he added.
According to the NCAA boss, international airlines had raked into their coffers about N8.1 billion from January to July this year from the sale of air tickets. The figure, he said, was a far cry from the N2.5 billion realised from the sale of tickets by domestic airlines. He also said the total volume of passengers airlifted from January-July 2015 by domestic operators stood at 6,061,740 million passengers while their foreign counter- parts freighted 2,341,748 billion within the same period.
Usman charged local operators to do more to woo passengers and boost ticket sales in the months and years ahead. “Airlines operational efficiency should begin to gravitate towards customer centric services,” he said.
“If we all agree that passengers are the revenue base of all operations, there is therefore an implicit need to review our services at the airports and on board the aircraft. This will in turn provide value for money for passengers.
“To provide good and efficient services, however, it can only be done with techno- logical development. Our air- lines need to join other global players and begin to strive to purchase newer aircraft and invest heavily in technology,” he added. He said NCAA as the statutory regulatory authority of the industry had over the years strived to en- sure air transport in Nigeria is safe, secure and lucrative.
According to him, the premier league status Nigeria has attained with the certification and recertification of FAA Category 1 status has been a launching pad for aviation development in Nigeria.
Source : SunOnline