African airlines dump Nigeria as West African hub 
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African airlines dump Nigeria as West African hub 

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African airlines dump Nigeria as West African hub 

Latest report has shown a strong plan by some African-based airlines to finally dump Nigerian airports in a bid to undermine the country’s role as the main hub of the West African sub-region.

 The move, described by Nigerian officials as a conspiracy, started late in November 2015 when the South African airline said it preferred Ghana, a neighbouring country to Nigeria, as its take off route for international flights.

 But on Thursday, its counterpart the Ethiopian Airline indicated intention to tow the same line, by using Togo, another West African country for its main flight base.

 However, prior to 2016, many of the international airlines were boarding their fleet with passengers for international routes from Nigeria as the main hub of the Sub-Saharan region.

 An impeccable source saithat most of the airlines were currently promising passengers from Nigeria some rebates if they could go to their new chosen countries to board flights. 

 A Dubai-bound passenger confirmed to Ripples Nigeria that his company, which was sending him on official assignment to the UAE was offered a 10 per cent discount for boarding Ethiopian Airline from Togo.

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“But the irony is that the Gnassingbe Eyademe International Airport, Lome cannot be compared with either the MMIA Ikeja or Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, however, the current recession that has visited Nigeria has put the country in a disadvantaged position in many fronts,” he lamented.

 Regular passengers expressing disappointment on the issue asked Nigeria to hold stakeholders’ summit with all international airline operators to let them know all the efforts being put in place to address the main issue of dollar scarcity, which had made it difficult for them to repatriate revenue accruing from their businesses back home.

 Other reports further revealed that most flights from West Africa to some countries, including Brazil, the US and parts of Europe, which used to record three flights per week from Nigeria in the past have been reduced to two, and in some cases one; whereas frequency of such flights had increased by  about 50 percent in the neighbouring countries from what they used to be despite the fact that Nigerian passengers still dominate the number of passengers. 

 An official of the South Africa Airways confirmed that the airline had been recording improved number of take off since July 2016 that it focused mainly on Ghana.

 But an aide to the Minister of State, Aviation, John Asumota, while reacting to the development said with the new understanding, which will see CBN give special concession in allocation of foreign currency to the airline operators, through the interbank market, solution to the challenges facing the sector would soon be over.

RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears

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