By Chuks Okoh
The Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, Amb. Ademola Onafowokan has reiterated that the country’s government will continue to support any Nigerian company that is transacting business activities into the former Gold Coast area.
He said this as he urged Nigerian companies operate either into Ghana or any other countries within the West Coast to always abide by all the rules and regulations in respective countries.
Speaking during the dinner party held at the Nigerian House in Accra, Ghana for the inaugural flight of Med-View Airline into Kotoka International Airport, KIA, Accra, Ghana, Onofowokan insisted that the Nigerian government would not shy away from protecting any of its nationals that carry out business transactions in Ghana, but noted that for them to receive the government’s supports, their books must be open.
He challenged the management of Med-View Airline to offer seamless and qualitative services to all its clients that would be flying on the new route, noting that with excellent services rendered to its clients, nationals of the two countries and beyond would patronsie its services.
He said, “Med-View Airline is a fantastic airline; that is why we are here today to be part of the history being created by the airline. The maiden flight was excellent and the land landing of the aircraft was equally flawless by the pilot. One only hopes that they will continue to render qualitative services to Nigerians and other citizens on this route. We are here to support you in any way that you need us. We are here to support Nigerian companies to prosperity.
“Nigeria will continue to grow and we are waiting for the day when Med-View Airline will commence Abuja-Accra route. Safety is number one priority in air business and the High Commission will continue to support any airline that wants to promote safety in the aviation industry.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Med-View Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, commended the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana for its support towards the successful commencement of the Lagos-Accra route.
He promised that the airline would not renege in its continuous efforts at offering its clients qualitative air services and equally lauded the financial institutions and technical partners for their supports over the years.
Bankole also disclosed that the airline would commence the Dubai route on November 22, 2014, thereby bringing to two the number of Nigerian airlines operating into the lucrative route. He further stated that the Jeddah route would starts in January 2015.
Arik Air had over a month ago commenced a three-time weekly flight to Dubai from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos.
He said, “We are commencing with Dubai on the 22, November. You can write it down. Then, Jeddah, January 10, 2015. It is done already. All are open, certificated and approved and after that, we are going to stop for six months before we take any leg again. It is not easy to run this business, but we assure our passengers that we will do it well for them.”
He also appealed to the government to create more comfortable environments to all operators in Nigeria especially in the area of Jet A1, which he noted had been on the high side over the years.
Competition will not affect our flight operations into Ghana,Says Bankole
Managing director of Medview Airlines, Alhaji Muneer Bankole has stated that competition on the Lagos – Accra route would not deter it from beginning flight operations into West African sub region because of the robust business relationship that exists between Nigerian businesses and communities in the neighbouring countries . Bankole said what matters to any airline is not the number of operators in an existing route, but the quality of service to be offered by a new entrant .
He spoke in an interview in Lagos against the backdrop of plans by Medview Airlines to start flights between Lagos and Accra next week and apparent competition on the route. He said the airline is propelled by the need to offer a window for Nigerians to have more options in their choice of carriers in facilitating their business and educational pursuit as well as other concerns between Nigeria and Ghana.
Bankole said the airline is fine tuning plans to expand flights to the five countries in West Africa it has been designated by the Federal Government .
He listed the countries to include : Senegal, Côte D’ Ivoire , Mali, Gabon and others. Bankole said the desire to extend flight operations into Ghana would assist Nigerian passengers connect into Europe and other parts of the world, where foreign airlines offer cheaper fares.
He said the commencement of operations into Accra would facilitate such window where Nigerians could access Ghana by air and enjoy the lower fares available to other countries .
Apart from the huge business transactions between Nigeria and Ghana, Bankole said flights into Ghana would further open up the market for many Nigerians who are represented in many communities in Ghana . Bankole said :”Looking at the market today, Ghana as a country is significant because of its relevance in terms of stability .
“This is in terms of the gains of its stable democracy and Ghana as a connection to other countries in the West African sub region . And flight connections into other parts of the world including Europe and other places
A lot of Nigerians fly into Ghana to connect flights into other countries of the world for many reasons. “The reason why many Nigerians fly into Ghana to connect flights into other parts of the world is predicated on the fact that the air fares offered by many foreign carriers from Nigeria into Europe and other destinations is very , very high. In fact, it is prohibitive .
“If you carry out any comparison , you would realise that air fares from Ghana into Europe is cheaper. And not only that Nigeria and Ghana belong to the same African family .
“There is a trading relationship between Nigerian and Ghana . Nigeria and Nigerian businesses are well represented in Ghana even in their communities. These large population of Nigerians in Ghana need a passage by air to come back home .
“That is why Medview Airlines is tapping into this window to provide the best services to facilitate such movement across national borders.Another angle to the business is that we want to make the airline the carrier of choice to move goods across the countries. Recall that half of the Ankara made in Ghana is sold in the Nigerian market. So, both countries have common relationship that require movement by air to facilitate it.
“The basic motivation for this is create an avenue to bring our people back home .Another consideration is the large number of Nigerians schooling in Ghanian institutions , who would require to come back home all the time .
“That is another catchment for passengers. That is why Medview Airlines is providing the intervention . As an airline we have been around, with our feasibility study in the Lagos- Accra route, with on time departure we are convinced we would have a good flight operation.
“With improvement on our flight services and a lot of innovation in what other carriers have not done, we are convinced our foray into Ghana is a done deal. We are not afraid of competition on the Lagos – Accra route. What is important is the number of airlines flying the route but the quality of service . What would mark us out is the quality of flight services .”
He said the airline is set to consolidate its operations on the Abuja – Jeddah and Dubai routes , which he affirmed many Nigerians are excited about .
He said :” The authorities of Ghana were not ready to assist us , but, we have to work hard to achieve this .
“We have five destinations in West Africa., where government designated us . We are working towards Abidjan, Mali, Libreville, .We are taking it step by step. With time we would expand into all the routes. We are trying our best to assist Ghana with STABO and other companies to enable them come back.
“The Ghanaian authorities were not willing to assist because, they say three Nigerian carriers are flying into Accra without a single Ghanaian carrier flying into Lagos.
“But we have done our best to ensure the operations would run seamless. We are looking beyond Accra to fly to Bamako, Libreville, and other countries . On the Dubai operations, we are very ready, we have put our house in order and the Nigerian community is ready for us. We need to support our airline , because only Nigeria carriers would offer jobs to its nationals , not the foreign airlines coming in here to make money .
“I have travelled to Saudi Arabia and Dubai to prepare for the operations. We need to support our own carriers. We are going to create jobs and have Nigerian flavour on board. There is a good offer for Nigerians.”