The British and Nigerian governments struck a deal yesterday to re-open flights from Abuja to London for its flagship airline Arik Air, running seven trips a week.
London Heathrow had stopped Arik from flying Abuja-London last month. The two countries had a disagreement over landing slots and ticket pricing which almost ended flights between the nations. Nigeria threatened last month to reduce British Airways flights between London and Lagos from seven to three weekly.
Princess Stella Oduah, Nigeria’s aviation minister had given BA and the British government until Tuesday to iron out the grievances she had over their Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). A spokesperson from the British High Commission in Abuja said: “On the issue of BA’s pricing policy, obviously governments can’t tell private companies what to charge, but we’re having on-going and positive discussions with the relevant parts of the Nigerian government and others with the aim of resolving the issues raised to everyone’s satisfaction.”
“The issues are being resolved and negotiations with the British government are ongoing. In the meantime BA flights will continue seven times a week to Lagos until the end of December,” said Joel Obi, aviation ministry press officer.
The BASA agreement allocates 21 equal flight frequencies between the two countries, which their airlines can use. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic use up Britain’s 21 return flights but Arik Air is the only Nigerian airline flying to London, allocated 12 slots a week at Heathrow airport.
After these slots were cut almost in half, Nigeria questioned why Britain was not supporting their bilateral relationship by helping with the situation. The British government now has until the end of the year to deal with all the issues.