Following allegation that the United Arab Emirates airline, the Emirates, has not been operating from Abuja because some key people in government have not been bribed, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), through its spokesman, Mr Yakubu Dati, has denied the allegation.
The spokesman explained that routes operated by commercial airlines are usually determined by economic factors rather than political considerations or sentiments.
He stated this in Lagos while reacting to a statement credited to the former director-general of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mr Tony Iredia that he (Iredia) was informed by an unofficial source that the airline could not fly from Abuja to Dubai until Nigerian officials are “seen,” a euphemism for bribe.
Dati said since Iredia was relying on an unofficial source, the veracity of the information “is doubtful as it cannot be confirmed.
“One can say categorically that the issue of “seeing” aviation officials in exchange for routes is totally absurd.”
He explained that international routes are subject to bilateral agreements signed at ministerial levels.
“If the Abuja to Addis Ababa route, for instance, is not profitable for an airline, it would ply that route. It certainly has nothing to do with greasing the palm of anybody,” he reiterated.
Dati stated that the aviation reforms initiated by the erstwhile minister of aviation, Stella Oduah, “is a plus to the transformation which the sector has brought to the Nigerian society.”