IATA in Nigeria
AME Regional Vice-President's Visit To Nigeria
Regional Vice President for Africa & the Middle East Mr. Muhammad Albakri, supported by the Vice President, Africa and the Head of Africa & the Middle East Regional Vice President’s Office visited Nigeria on 1-3 August 2017. His engagements with stakeholders started with a meeting at Arik Air, an IATA Member airline presently suspended from the IATA financial system. The Management of the airline led by the Receiver Manager and the CEO, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu focused the discussion on the challenging situation of being under receivership and requested support for its reinstatement into the IATA financial system mostly with regard to the security deposit of $9 million which it could not afford presently due to the legal constraints. Mr. Albakri advised Arik to focus on maintaining its IOSA and IATA membership while continuing to dialogue with IATA on the conditions for its reinstatement into the BSPs. The airline was also advised to make use of the cheaper services of IATA Consulting with regards to redefining the future of the airline. The Regional Vice President also presented Arik with the IGOM certificate as the airline was recently listed on the IGOM registry.
While discussing with the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Muhtar Usman, the RVP AME commended him for having six of his domestic carriers on the IOSA registry out of which four are IATA members and requested for his further support for the three remaining airlines (AZMAN, FirstNation and AeroContractors) to also be on the registry. To further develop aviation in Nigeria, it was mentioned that CORSIA and Third Country Operators (TCO) workshops will be organized by IATA in Lagos this year. In return, IATA requested for NCAA’s support in depositing the Nigeria instrument of MP14 ratification at ICAO and also an increase patronage of ITDI courses.
Thereafter, the Meeting with the CEO of Allied Air Cargo, Mr. Val Tongo started with the RVP commending Allied Air for being the first African full fledge cargo airline on the IOSA registry and IATA membership as well as the first Nigerian carrier on the IGOM registry. Allied Air then requested IATA’s support and assistance for the identification of partner(s) to support its expansion plan. Mr. Albakri assured Allied Air that IATA will review the request and provide support once its profile and expansion plans are received.
Continuing his engagement with Nigerian stakeholders, The Regional Vice President met with the Executive Director of Overland Airways and began by commending the airline for embracing the IATA initiatives namely: IOSA, IGOM and IATA membership. Overland airways responded by requesting IATA’s support for the airline to create synergy with other carriers in the region to foster stronger partnerships. Overland also asked for the establishment of an IATA Regional Training Center in West Africa in order to bring IATA classroom courses closer to the stakeholders. Mr. Albakri promised to review the suggestions with his colleagues.
The last key stakeholder engagement, was with the President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), Mr. Bankole Bernard who appreciated the quality of relationship between his association, the IATA local office in Nigeria and the Regional Office in Amman. Mr. Albakri in turn assured him of IATA’s continued support for the smooth growth of ISS activities in Nigeria. NANTA’s president further requested training at discounted prices to help a great number of the agents become IATA-accredited and provide a direction for the travel agency business in Nigeria. It was discussed that IATA would develop a strategic plan for the massive accreditation of Nigerian travel agents who are reported by NANTA to be about 6,000 while only 820 are currently IATA-accredited.