From the Guardian (Lagos):
The last two years may not have witnessed a great transformation of the aviation sub sector to the desired goal of many Nigerians, the goal of many Nigerians, the industry is doubtless no longer the way it was when the civilians came on board.
Within the period, Olusegun Obasanjo's administration has present the liberalisation of the industry with some modest achievements while indecision and lack of coordinate has slowed down its profess in other area.
The major achievement of the administration is in the restoration of direct air link between Nigeria and the United States of America (USA) which was ruptured in 1993 following the desertification of Murtala Muhammed International Airport by the US government for security lapses.
Resumption of flights on the routes was effected by a joint venture agreement by Nigeria Airways and South Africa Airways, Traffic is believed to be growing on the route.
Besides reopening the route, both governments signet and 'open skies' agreement that allows unrescrited number of carriers from both states to operate unlimited number of flights into multiple point in the two countries.
Lagos - London route, which ahs virtually been monopolised by British Airways was also liberalised with the signing of dual designation agreement that allows two airlines from each side to operate on the route.
Virgin Atlantic is already designated by the British government while politics and theatrics may delay reciprocity from Nigeria.
However, domestic operators are warning up for designation competition which may be through bidding or meeting certain laid down criteria.
Nigeria, like many other, Africa countries, also signed the Yamossonkroa Accord which liberalised the African skies to allowed virtually unrestricted fights within Africa by African carriers.
All there agreements are follows of the wind of globalisation and liberalisation blowing across Africa.
For domestic operators and private investors this is a welcome development. For the workers of Nigeria Airways, their sympathisers and the foreign carriers this is a hand pill to swallow.
Summing up the administrations achievement Aviation Minister Dr. Kema Chikwe said: "We have also made substantial studies in global and regional integration, and this has manifested in the removal of obstacles to cross border trade. We have signed open Skies agreement with the United States of America. Nigeria is also a signatory to the Yamoassonkro decision for the liberalisation of access to air transport market in Africa as well as the Banjul Accord group.
"The resumption of direct flight between Lagos and New York is a major achievement by this administration and represents my Ministry's contributions towards President Obasanjo's efforts to reintegrate Nigeria into the mainstream of the international forum. It is also a notable example of gains of democracy."
Although the decree had been signed by the last military administration which was also the initiator two new parastatals were established to enhance the efficiency of the system.
Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) was created out of federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) while a regulatory agency Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was carved out of the Aviation ministry.
Their two agencies are beginning to change the face of the industry at least by increased activities.
It may not be too long before the gains of establishing the two outfits become accruable to the industry and the nation.
Copyright © 2001 The Guardian.