Nigerian airlines set to launch direct flights to America, South America – Keyamo

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The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, announced that, similar to Air Peace’s Nigeria-United Kingdom route, local airlines will soon launch direct flights to America and South America, marking the first-ever direct flights between Nigeria and South America.

Keyamo disclosed this during an interview with Otega Ogra, Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu, as shown on the official YouTube page of the State House of Nigeria, providing an update on developments following Air Peace’s approval to fly the Lagos-Gatwick route.

He emphasized that the planned expansion of local airlines’ routes to the United States of America (USA) and South America is part of the federal government’s strategy to enhance Nigerian private airlines’ competitiveness on international routes, which have long been dominated by foreign airlines, aiming to drive down airfare prices.

What the Minister is saying

“We have other routes coming up.

We are looking at the America route.

We are looking at the South American route. They are not even flying to South Africa now. Something is in the works for us to start that route to aid the Nigerian flying public and bring down the price,” the Aviation Minister said.

Keyamo highlighted that as the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) with other sovereign nations are being enforced.

He emphasized that local airlines looking to service these routes are being presented as flag carriers, so they are respected as Nigeria’s representatives, not just private businesses.

More insight

Keyamo further noted that to enhance the competitiveness of local airlines against foreign airlines, the federal government has initiated the process of amending local laws to encourage aircraft lessors to lease their assets to Nigerian operators.

He mentioned ongoing discussions with the Attorney General of the Federation, the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, and Justices of the Supreme Court to amend laws that currently allow defaulting private airlines to obtain court injunctions to ground aircraft when they fail to meet their obligations.

Additionally, Keyamo mentioned that the government is urging the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to reconsider its policy requiring all insurance to be handled by local companies, as domestic insurers may not be equipped to handle the significant risks associated with wide-body aircraft.

He argued that local insurance companies would need to reinsure to manage these risks, which contradicts the federal government’s objective of significantly reducing air transportation costs, as reinsuring would further drive-up operational costs for local airlines.

The Aviation Minister stated that once these changes are implemented, local airlines will be better positioned to thrive on international routes

What you should know

  • Prior to the announcement by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, that direct flights between Nigeria and South Africa are imminent, President Bola Tinubu and his Brazilian counterpart, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, explored the potential of establishing direct flights between Nigeria and Brazil.
  • During a meeting on February 18, 2024, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Lula da Silva emphasized the necessity for both governments to engage in formal discussions to address the absence of direct flights between Lagos and Sao Paulo.
  • “It is meaningless that there are no direct flights from Lagos to Sao Paulo and vice versa. I cannot understand that. We have to sit at a table and find a solution for that. In aviation, there are many areas of potential collaboration with our manufacturers who seek to have a greater presence in Africa,” President Lula da Silva was quoted as saying.

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