From Chinelo Obogo, Zaria
The Federal Government has been criticised for granting Qatar Airways and other international airlines entry permit into the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in addition to Abuja and Lagos airports.
On its official social media handle, Qatar Airways said it has been given approval by the Nigerian government to fly into Port Harcourt and Kano airports.
It said: “We welcome Kano and Port Harcourt in Nigeria to our growing African network, with flights starting early March 2022, via Abuja to Doha and onwards to over 140 destinations.”
But experts who have always advocated for destinations for foreign airlines to be limited to one international airport, say the policy of granting multiple entries to foreign airlines would continue work against the survival of Nigeria’s struggling local airlines.
Most foreign airlines that operate in Nigeria have approval for frequencies into Abuja and Lagos. Ethiopian Airlines has entry into Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Enugu airports, while Emirates flies into Lagos and Abuja. Lufthansa and Air France fly into Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt among others.
Aviation security expert, John Ojikutu, told Daily Sun that local airlines won’t benefit from assigning more than two airports in Nigeria to foreign airlines as it exposes them to domestic routes and markets.
He argued that rather than give one foreign airline multiple destinations, they should be confined to either Lagos or Abuja airport and not any other to allow them interline with local airlines.
“Giving foreign airlines more than two airports in Nigeria is to expose them into the domestic routes and therefore into the domestic markets of the domestic airlines. For me, it is either Lagos or Abuja and not more than that.
“However, the foreign airlines can be allowed as many frequencies as they wish per day to the choice airports. Through interlining arrangement, the domestic airlines can be assured of improved domestic markets by distributing international passengers for connection with these foreign airlines,” Ojikutu said.