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Minister working with EU, USA to delist carriers from leasing blacklist

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika riding on a presidential approval has started a diplomatic process targeted at delisting local airlines from sanctions in Europe and America which have denied them access to aircraft leasing opportunities over the years.

Investigations showed that the blacklisting of the carriers have forced them to the harsh option of outright purchase of passenger planes than leasing which is the practice across Africa.

Though the ministry was silent on why in the first instance Nigerian carriers are barred from leasing option, industry analysts say the scenario had a hand in early collapse of several commercial airlines in Nigeria over the years as the cost of total purchase had been exorbitant.

One of the key points on which the Minister of driving the new process is the fact that Nigeria remains a signatory to the Cape Town Convention which allows commercial airlines to lease aircraft for use under some agreement.

However, findings showed that some of the reasons upon which leasing firms in EU and USA relied to blacklist Nigerian airlines cut across paucity of fund, infrastructure deficit and security challenges.

Though Nigerian airlines are still grappling with these issues, analysts say taking up the challenge from the ministerial level may yield favourable results which may see airlines fleets jumping in the nearest future.