As the ultimatum given British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and other foreign carriers in Nigeria to bring down their fares expired yesterday, the Federal Government has suspended sanctions pending the outcome of the investigations instituted by the National Assembly.
The Federal Government, through the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Uduah, had on March 26, 2012, issued a 30-day ultimatum to all foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to dismantle their fare disparity within the West African Coast or face a ban from operating into the Nigerian airspace.
According to a statement from the ministry, “Ever since the ultimatum was issued, a lot of developments have occurred. There have been consultations and negotiations between the Nigerian and British authorities with regard to the operations of BA and VAA. “Negotiations involving other foreign carriers have also been on-going.
“But the most significant development since the issue broke out was the intervention of the House of Representatives and the Senate, given the high interest the question of fare imbalance generates across the country.”
According to Joe Obi, Special Assistant Media to the Aviation Minister, the ministry has postponed sanctioning the airlines until investigations and negotiations are concluded.
“ Currently, the intervention/investigation of the Senate Committee on Aviation is still on-going. The first phase of that investigation was the Public Hearing where all interested/affected stakeholders made representations to the Committee.
“While the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah insists that the regional fare imbalance must be dismantled, with severe consequences for all airlines that fail to comply, it is however imperative to allow the Senate investigation to take its full course.
As a result, the proposed ban on all airlines that fail to restore fare parity has been put on hold in the interim in deference to the ongoing intervention effort of the Senate and the National Assembly”.