Nigerian carriers cry out over lopsided SAATM implementation, back policy

  • Overflying Francophone countries, a nightmare-Onyema

 

Nigerian carriers under the aegis of Airline Operators (AON) have expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), urging African nations to be sincere in their implementation of the African air transport policy.

The Vice-President of AON and the chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Mr. Allen Onyema who spoke on behalf of the operators at a two-day workshop on Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) implementation in aviation in Nigeria held at the Transcorps Hilton Hotel, Abuja said the continent must be sincere and avoid a situation where Nigerian carriers are held down by bottlenecks to frustrate them.

Onyema noted that a situation where Nigerian airlines are being deprived of easy access to landing in other African cities would put the airlines in a precarious situation and edge the airlines out in the competitive airline business.

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Air Peace chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema

He particularly frowned at the high cost of landing charges by other countries compared to what the Nigerian government charges other airlines operating to the country.

He admitted that the air transport liberalization policy was a good idea to ensure the interconnectivity of the African region and boost the economies of many nations.

His words, “SAATM is very good. It is a good idea. It will boost the economies of many African countries. However, African nations must be sincere in their implementation of SAATM. We must be sincere and not a situation where Nigerian airlines are being deprived of landing with high costs of landing. Despite that, we have to support it”.

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“I am very happy to meet the Director-General of ASECNA here. Flying over the Francophone countries has become a nightmare for Nigerian airlines because when they bring their bills, they are high. There are a lot of conflicts and late reconciliation of bills”.

The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, an initiative of the African Union to create a single unified air transport market in Africa to advance the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and act as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration agenda.

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SAATM will ensure aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic, and political integration, and boosting intra-Africa trade and tourism as a result.

Panelists at a two-day workshop on Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) implementation in aviation in Nigeria held at the Transcorps Hilton Hotel, Abuja

To date, 34 countries have signed up for the SAATM. The countries are Nigeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.

Others are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Bissau), Guinée, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tchad, Togo, Zimbabwe.

Wole Shadare