• en

Keyamo: We’re Addressing Legal Issues Hampering Nigerian Airlines From Competing Globally

Aviation Minister Keyamo says judges have been advised not to grant injunctions to detain aircraft on dry lease in Nigeria.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo has said that the government is working hard to address the legal issues hindering the capacity of Nigerian airlines from competing with their international counterparts.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, while speaking about the challenges, Keyamo announced that as one of the ways to address these challenges, judges have been advised not to grant any injunction to detain aircrafts on dry lease in Nigeria.

“I discovered that what guides aircraft leasing around the world is what is called the Cape Town Leasing Convention. It is the convention that regulates aircraft leasing around the world and Nigeria is a signatory to that convention. We have not only signed it but ratified it. There is a group that is responsible for pushing for observance and compliance of that convention. That group is co-chaired by Airbus and Boeing and it is called the aviation working group.

 “I called them and asked why they have blacklisted Nigerians and why we are not getting the aircrafts by our local airlines. They said we have blacklisted Nigerians because they don’t comply with the cape town convention. They said it is a legal problem. 

“They bring in their aircraft on dry lease and our local, some scrupulous businessmen take their aircraft, refuse to fulfil their obligations under those dry leases and rush to court to get an injunction to stop the removal of those aircraft from Nigeria. It happened previously with an airline that I won’t mention, from 10 years ago and it gave Nigeria a bad image.

“So, they told me that until you amend your laws, your practice directions in court to outlaw the granting of injunctions for the removal of aircrafts on dry lease, we will not bring aircraft into your country. 

“So, I engaged the attorney general of the federation, I’ve spoken with the chief judge of the federal high court, we are engaging the chief justice of Nigeria. All of them have agreed. I’ve briefed the president and the vice president who is the head of ease of doing business because it affects the ease of doing business and all of us have agreed that it is a critical issue and as I speak with you, we are in the process of drafting a practice direction to satisfy the world aviation working group.

“The practice direction says to our Judges, don’t grant injunctions to detain aircrafts that are on dry lease in Nigeria. It gives us a bad image; it is against the cape town convention. There is another provision there that says if you want to go administratively to take your aircraft out, you apply to the NCAA and within five days, the NCAA must grant relief. The other law also says that within ten days, the court must grant relief also to creditors who want to take their aircraft out. So, we are almost there.”

The minister also outlined five key priority areas of the aviation sector established by the government upon assuming office.

“We have barely scratched the surface of the challenges we have in the aviation sector. We need to address all the various challenges we have in that sector. As a government, we set five priority areas for us when we came into the aviation sector. The first is to ensure the safety of passengers. As supervisor in the aviation sector, I must ensure the strict compliance with safety rules and regulations by the agencies who are involved. The second is to improve our infrastructure in terms of the physical buildings and navigation equipment and all of that. The third most important one, which is what we are coming to now, is to ensure that we support the growth and survival of our local operators. It has never been a focal point of various governments before now.

“They have left them to do their own things. I think we realise that with this president in office who has been a businessman and knows about the ease of doing business, supporting private businesses for job creation and growth of the economy, we thought it was important to put that as a focal point to support local operators’ growth and survival.”

Highlighting the alarming mortality rate among aviation businesses over the past four decades, the minister further emphasised the importance of human capital development through training and retraining initiatives.

Chioma Kalu

Follow us on: