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Flight reciprocity: Falana canvasses suspension of BA, Virgin Atlantic flights to Nigeria

For the reluctance of the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) to allow Air Peace to operate direct scheduled flights from Nigeria to London, Mr Femi Falana has called for the suspension of the two British carriers operating into the country.

A statement by Stanley Olisa, the Spokesman of Air Peace on Friday, said that Falana made the statement at the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Conference held in Abuja.

According to him, the British Government refused to comply with the provisions of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) signed by Nigeria and the United Kingdom on flight reciprocity between the two countries.

Falana stated that BASA allows for reciprocity of flight operations on the route by designated airlines of both countries in line with the agreement signed by both countries, stressing that it was out of place and unfair for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to be allowed to continue to fly into Nigeria without any Nigerian airline flying to London in return.

He emphasized that that Air Peace had proven it can operate on international routes, adding that the airline currently flies to China, Israel, India, and South Africa among others, using modern aircraft comparable to those of its foreign competitors.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic should be stopped

Falana said:

  • “If Air Peace is not allowed to fly to London, then British Airways and Virgin Atlantic should be stopped from flying to Nigeria.”

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways both have about 21 weekly frequencies to Nigeria.

While British Airways operates 14 weekly flights to two airports in Nigeria; Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Virgin Atlantic Airways flies weekly seven frequencies to Lagos from Heathrow Airport in London.

Air Peace, on the other hand, had applied to fly the Lagos-London route, but the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) had yet to grant it approval to commence operations.

Just on Thursday in Lagos, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development told journalists in Lagos that the government would review the multiple entries granted to foreign airlines into the country.

He also that the new administration was willing to support the indigenous airlines but said they must show the capacity to deliver.

He said:

  • “People have been complaining about our Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) and the airline operators said, ‘Look you can’t come under a BASA, and foreign airlines will be hopping from one city to the other within Nigeria, picking passengers.’ And this affects their local operations.
  • One of my cardinal objectives is that we have to develop the local industry and we have to protect and support our local operators, but they must give me and the Nigerian people comfort, too.
  • “They need to tell the Nigerian people that they can perform. I am clear as to where I am going, I have to balance all these interests. But I am looking at all of those issues before I come to a decision.”


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