Nigeria Airways to fly solo on US route

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria's national career, Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), has decided to resume the Lagos-New York route on its own, following the collapse of a joint venture agreement between the airline and its South African counterpart, South African Airways (SAA), the local media reported Sunday.
According to press accounts, the Nigerian government had directed the airline's management to lease a Boeing 767 plane in order to boost its international operations and free its 747 aircraft for the Lagos-New York route.
SAA announced last Tuesday it was pulling out of the joint venture agreement, signed between both airlines 19 February 2001.
The South African airline cited losses of 54 million rand (4.
5 million US dollars) on the route.
Though NAL was favourably disposed to renewing the agreement for another year, SAA decided to pull out after the management of the Nigerian airline refused its request to reduce the number of seats allocated to NAL under the agreement.
Nigeria Airways gets 109 seats on each of the three weekly flights in the 330-seat aircraft provided by SAA, even though the airlines could buy into each other's unsold slots.
NAL resorted to the pact to enable it service the lucrative Lagos-New York route, which it was forced to vacate in 1993 due to a ban by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Though FAA cited inadequate security arrangements at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, the nation's main gateway, for its action, industry analysts blamed it on the political turmoil in Nigeria at the time.
Years of mismanagement has seen the depletion of NAL's fleet, from about 30 aircraft in 1979 to two currently.

17 march 2002 15:06:00

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