The federal government has warned international airlines against selling flight tickets in US dollars to Nigerians.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who gave the warning while briefing journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, said airlines must sell tickets in Naira.
He said selling flight tickets in dollars is not only illegal but an offense internationally, adding that the federal government would not hesitate to impose sanctions on any airline caught selling flight tickets in dollars.
The minister also told journalists that the Federal Executive Council has approved the signing of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Nigeria and Kuwait.
He said the agreement would open up airline services between the two countries in accordance with the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“That memo has to do with the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreement between the Federal republic of Nigeria and the State of Kuwait. In that memorandum as approved, the text was earlier on initialed and was cleared by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
“It provided that the content of the agreement should have reciprocal rights and privileges for both countries and airlines involved. This will open up opportunities for air transportation between the two countries, in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) convention of 7th December 1944, to which both countries are signatories,” he said.
The minister said the council also approved contract for the hiring of consultants for revalidation and collection of aviation height clearance for high-rise buildings and masts that can obstruct flight operations in Nigeria.
He said the contract would run at no cost to the budget because the revenues accrued there-in would be used to pay the consultants.
“We got approval for the award of contract for the engagement of consultants for revalidation and collection of aviation height clearance on behalf of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The contract was approved with a scale and at no cost to the budget.
“The revenues derived therefrom will be used to pay the consultants 0-1000, 000,000 7%; 1.1-2.5 billion, 5% and 2.5-5 billion is 3%. For more clarity, the aviation height clearance is extremely important to the safety of air operations. What concerns us in Civil Aviation is how efficient you depart from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.
“There have been instances in Nigeria where we had air crashes in the past due to communication masts like the one in Jos-Plateau State. Having masts around the airport, or its vicinity or even a building, so long as it causes unsafe operations, that need to be regulated by the NCAA,” he said.
He said the consultants would go after people with such masts or buildings, to ensure they abide by the regulations.
The minister also dismissed reports that over N14 billion has been spent on the planned national carrier for the country.
He assured that the planned Nigeria Air would be a reality and for the benefit of Nigeria and the rest of Africa.