Bi-Courtney Air Services Limited (BASL) has urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to restore its approval for beginning of regional flights from the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2).
The firm said its call to the regulator was premised on the huge investment it has committed into upgrading facilities at the terminal for the planned operations.
Speaking after a tour of facilities at the terminal, its Chief Operating Officer, Captain Jari Williams, said BASL was getting worried why NCAA had twice given approval for regional flights to begin from MMA2, only to withdraw it at the last minute.
Williams said the terminal is fully mobilised for regional flights operations as it has upgraded facilities to ensure that domestic flights do not mix with regional operations.
He faulted claims in some quarters that a terminal such as MMA2 is not supposed to operate regional flights from the same facility where domestic operations take place, saying that is the fashion in other parts of the world.
Williams said the right facilitation equipment has been procured to make the operations seamless as they were only waiting for NCAA’s approval.
He said BASL management has engaged security agencies, including Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS), Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Department of State Services (DSS) and others, on its readiness for the flights.
He assured that the terminal managers will comply with the executive order issued by Federal Government to facilitate the ease of doing business for arriving foreigners at the terminal.
Williams said BASL has engaged financial institutions, including UBA Bank, to open a kiosk at the regional flights section of MMA2 for passengers who need to exchange foreign currencies.
“There is no harm in operating regional flights from the same terminal. Those saying MMA2 should not handle regional flights because it is running domestic operations should think out of the box.
“It is this inability to think out of the box with regulation that is killing Nigerian carriers, whose costs will be reduced if they operate both regional and domestic flights from the same location.”
He said BASL has lost 50 per cent of its projected revenue due largely to non-approval to operate regional flights as well as failure by government to grant the company exclusive rights over all flights from Lagos from its terminal.
On the contention over tenure of the concession, Williams said the company remains committed to its 36 years agreement, saying the company is open to amicable resolution of issues with government.
“Though the courts asked government to pay us N132 billion as damages for non-compliance of the concession agreement in 2012, the money accumulated over the years with interests.
“But, we are open to amicable resolution of all issues with government. But, we are worried that government has not honoured its parts of the obligation. We continue to engage government agencies.”