For all their investments, hardwork and courage to fly the Nigerian flag on international routes, local airlines will continue to face a grim future overseas without a proper buffer at home.
Yamoussoukro Decision by 44 African Union (AU) member States to open up the sky for free movements, this year marks 20th anniversary, but without much success to celebrate.Yes, air travel on the continent is fairly easier now than it was at the turn of the century. Today, most Africans hardly need to round-trip through Europe or Asia to visit friends and family in neighbouring African country. Those nightmarish journeys of two to four days are now possible in two or three hours by direct flights.
But the trouble is that the sky is still largely shut to fair competition and mutual trust, and the new Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative raised as much concerns. The AU, still in its pursuit of Yamoussoukro objectives, last year launched SAATM otherwise called open market treaty. A total of 23 out of the 55 AU member countries signed the treaty.
Nigeria’s decision to join the 23 was immediately carpeted by the airlines operators back home, describing it as an inane giveaway of the local market to countries that are protectionist. They have a point.
Big brother Nigeria