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FG Is Developing Practice Guidelines For Dry Leasing Of Aircraft – Keyamo

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FG’ll Be Hard On Unlicensed Private Aircraft Operating Commercial Operations — Keyamo

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo said the Federal Government is working on a practice direction that would enable domestic airline operators to dry lease aircraft.

Keyamo disclosed this in an interview on Arise Television on Monday.

The minister also hinted that United Arab Emirates, UAE, airlines might resume flight operations to Nigeria in June, said the Aviation Working Group has made implementation of the practice direction mandatory for domestic operators to dry lease aircraft.

He said because some local operators had, in the past, breached the Cape Town Convention which regulates aircraft leasing across the world, the Aviation Working Group, co-chaired by Airbus and Boeing, has said Nigeria would be blacklisted until it implements a law that would guide such from happening.

His words: “Why we cannot compete with big international airlines is because we don’t have access to aircraft on the same terms as they have. People don’t know that the best airlines in the world run their fleet 100 per cent based on actual purchase of aircraft. Recent studies show that 70 per cent of the fleet across the world is on dry leases.

“For airlines that have bank facilities, they have access to loans in single digits, but our banks do 26 per cent. It was as a result of this that I called industry people to inform them that in order to survive, they must have access to these aircraft as those around the world.

“So, I went around to enquire about what guides aircraft leasing around the world, and I discovered it was the Cape Town Convention, which regulates aircraft leasing across the world. And Nigeria is a signatory to that convention. We have signed and ratified that convention.

“And there is a group responsible for the observance and compliance of that convention. The group is co-chaired by Airbus and Boeing. The group is called the Aviation Working Group, headed by Jeffrey Wool.

“I called all of them, held a meeting to ask why our local operators are not getting these aircraft. According to them, they have blacklisted Nigeria because it didn’t comply with the convention.

“The Aviation Working Group told me that until our laws are amended, until our practice directions are amended from granting injunctions on aircraft on dry lease, they will not bring aircraft in dey lease into Nigeria.

“So, I told them I would do that. I spoke with the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Justice of Nigeria, the president and vice president, who is the head of the ease of doing business, all of them have agreed that it is a critical issue.

“We are in the process of drafting a practice direction to satisfy the Aviation Working Group that once we give a practice direction that says: ‘please, our judges, don’t grant injunctions to detain aircraft that are on dry lease in Nigeria because it gives us a bad image and it is against the Cape Town Convention of the Aviation Working Group’.

On Nigeria And UAE, Keyamo said:

“Emirates flight resumption is almost happening. I just received a letter from Emirates. The letter is on my phone now. They have gone through all the gamut, and they are ready to come back. They will announce the date because to restart a route, they have to get an aircraft for that route.

“I am announcing to Nigerians for the first time; that I just received a letter from Emirates now. The letter is with me. I have a hard copy thanking you for all the efforts we made. Mr President was the showman here. He was the one who pushed for it.

“He made my job easy because he went there, and had a diplomatic shuttle to resolve all the issues. That was why I said the last announcement was hasty and not fake news. They will announce the date for their next flight. We have received a letter confirming that all the issues have been resolved and prepared to start coming back. It may be before June.”

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