House Carpets FG on Use of Foreign Airlines
The House Committee on Aviation has condemned the decision by the Federal Government to engage the services of foreign airlines to evacuate Nigerians abroad when there are three Nigerian carriers that have the capacity to do that. The lawmaker frowned at the engagement of foreign airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways and Emirates, to airlift stranded Nigerians from Dubai, London and America by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Presidential Task Force, (PTF) on COVID19.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji therefore called on the federal government to revert to capable indigenous operators to carry out the evacuation exercise.
Nnaji called for the immediate cancellation of the contracts and the reversal to the capable domestic operators noting that America and Britain recently evacuated their citizens from Nigerian without the use of other countries’ carriers.
“The action of those responsible for this action is not only a disservice to the local airlines which have done their best to provide patriotic service to Nigerians but equally detrimental to our national pride and dignity,” Nnaji stressed, urging the Aviation Minister to revoke the landing rights already granted the three airlines.
Nnaji, who represents Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, said he strongly believed that there are capable Nigerian operators with long haul aircraft that can handle the operations that should have been engaged by the Task Force.
According to him, “I am aware that Air Peace has three Boeing 777, Max Air has four Boeing 747 and Azman recently acquired Airbus A340-600 series which can be deployed for these charters. Air Peace apart from the operations it did to evacuate Nigerians from South Africa during the xenophobic attacks last year has handled two special charters this COVID 19 period to China for medical evacuation and to Israel to evacuate Israeli National out of Nigeria and Max Air has been operating in Hajj without hitches “I was thinking that the lessons of this prevailing pandemic would make us change our ways of doing things. Nigerians must demand explanations for this action of the PTF on COVID19.”