Africa: Medview Airlines expands Operations as Nigerian Aviation authorities threaten Emirates with bilateral reciprocity clause
If Nigeria wants indigenous carriers to actualise the bilateral agreements it signed with over 75 countries, it must invoke the reciprocity clause in such agreements, Managing Director, Medview Airlines, Muneer Bankole, has said.
He said without doing this, some countries which airlines are enjoying flight frequencies in Nigeria, would continue to erect barriers on the way of indigenous carriers designated to fly into them.
In an interview at the weekend, he said some countries had devised means to prevent airlines from flying into them.
Some of the measures devised by such countries, he said, are denying Nigerian carriers designated to operate into such countries of airport slot and frequencies at major airport terminals.
He argued that until the government took hard stance, the dream of domestic carriers to actualise their designation on some international routes would remain just that.
Citing the sour experience of Medview Airlines in its bid to fly into the Dubai Airport, Bankole said the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) denied the carrier approval to operate into Terminal 1 of Dubai Airport.
Suspecting that the UAE authorities were trying to protect their carriers , Bankole said the carrier challenged the decision.
He said the airline wrote a petition to UAE authorities and the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to express its disenchantment with the denial of airport approval.
Bankole said in the petition, Medview sought for explanations why Nigerian government would grant multiple entry rights to UAE while local carriers were denied approval into Dubai.
He said: ”We took this matter up; wrote the Ministry and NCAA and the matter was looked into. We sought to know why governments of other countries will protect their airlines, and Medview Airlines is being denied the approval to operate into the terminal we desired in Dubai.
“Government directed NCAA to apply the reciprocity clause in our bilateral air services agreement with the UAE and for fear that their carriers may suffer similar fate in Nigeria, they granted Medview rights to operate into Dubai Airport terminal one.
“Nigerian government had not taken such necessary steps, Medview Airlines would have been shut out. This is what indigenous carriers suffer in the hands of some countries, all in a bid to protect their.
“It is time Nigerian government stepped up efforts to protect her carriers.”
Bankole said though the airline’s operations into London remained challenging, the carrier would continue to confront the stiff competition on the route.
He said: “Though we were granted four weekly frequency into London, it has come with a lot of challenges.
“Though the big players are on that route, we will continue to step up our game to remain relevant on the route,” he said.
He said the airline had signed an operational agreement with Euro Atlantic which would firm up efforts towards the airline flying into Lisbon and Portugal next year.
Bankole said the agreement would assist Medview to connect flights into São Tomé and Principe.
On the airline’s expansion plans, Bankole said: “Very soon we will begin flights into Johannesburg in South Africa. We are also looking at our approval to consider flights very soon into either Baltimore, Washington and Houston in the United States.
“This month, Medview will begin flights into Abidjan, Conakry and Dakar. Our Freetown operationsis already running, the whole idea is to integrate our routes in African countries.”
By: Kelvin Osa-Okunbor