BY LOUIS IBA
Indigenous airline, Med- View Airline, may soon seek listing on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), its Managing Director/CEO, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, has said.
The airline started flying in Nigeria in 2006 primarily as a hajj operator conveying Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia but acquired an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for scheduled commercial flights in 2012.
Getting listed on the floor of the NSE is part of efforts by the airline to boost its capital base, acquire more fleet and hire more personnel as it seeks to expand its international commercial flight operations into the Middle East cities of Tel Aviv, Israel; Jedda, Saudi Arabia; Dubai, UAE and Singapore. On September 15, 2014, the airline had kick-started its international commercial operations on the Lagos-Accra, Ghana route.
Bankole who briefed aviation correspondents in Lagos yesterday to mark the airline’s two years in business as a Nigerian commercial airline said discussions had advanced with officials of the NSE to get the carrier listed on the exchange and also enable more Nigerians take up equity in it.
He said in the last two years, the airline had flown over 756,437 passengers on the domestic route, while over 250,000 Muslim pilgrims were flown to Saudi Arabia in the last eight years under its hajj and charter licence.
The Med-View boss also explained that in order to boost its planned international operations, the airline had commenced discussions with some notable foreign carriers in the Middle East on how to secure code-share and other operational agreements ahead of its commercial flight operations into Dubai and Jeddah.
He lamented the dominance of Nigerian skies by foreign airlines, stressing that the merger and consolidation of domestic airlines as recently proposed by industry experts was the right way to go to enhance capacity and reduce operating costs.
“Nothing is wrong with government setting up a national carrier, which would boost national pride and enable Nigeria recoup the billions of naira carted away annually by foreign carriers that do not add value to the gross domestic product,” said Bankole.
“Government should put stricter measures in place to checkmate the invasion of the airline sector by foreign carriers, which enjoy multiple entry points into the Nigerian market,” he added.
According to him, the hurdles erected by some foreign countries for Nigerian carriers seeking traffic rights and approvals into their country are so cumbersome, as he listed instances where Nigerian operators were required by some countries like Saudi Arabia to provide over half a million Riyadh currency in bank guarantee, in addition to having a foreign operator certificate as pre- conditions for flying into their country. He said such harsh conditions should apply to foreign carriers flying into Nigeria, which have eroded the market with flexible conditions.
Source : SunOnline