Nigeria’s Medview airline set to begin flights operations between Lagos and Accra.
The 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.”