Nigeria’s federal government has repeated its 30-day ultimatum to foreign airlines flying the Nigerian route to end their fare disparity or face a ban.
The government reiterated the warning after the British Deputy High Commissioner to the country, Mr. Giles Lever, said in a published interview that Nigeria had no legal rights to ban British carriers – British Airways and Virgin Atlantic – over fare disparity.
Mr. Lever had said that a ban on either British Airways or Virgin Atlantic would amount to a breach of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between both countries.
But in a statement issued by her spokesman, Aviation Minister Stella Oduah said the issue at stake had nothing to do with legality or illegality, saying foreign airlines simply needed to end the fare disparity
“We don’t want to join issues with the British government; we are dealing with the airlines and have given a 30-day deadline. It will be in their own interest to either come for negotiation before the expiration of the ultimatum or face the repercussion.
“At the end of the deadline, if they remain adamant, they will know whether or not we have powers to do what we are doing. There is nothing in the Bilateral Air Services Agreement that says Nigerians should pay more than passengers from other countries in West Africa,” she said.
According to Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, the difference between fares Nigerians are made to pay on the Lagos-London-Lagos route and what Ghanaians pay on the Accra-London-Accra route is US$4,239 for first class, US$1,055 on business class and US$92 on premium economy.
The ultimatum issued to the foreign airlines has received massive support from a cross section of Nigerians.