Vanguard (Lagos)

26 November 2012

Nigeria: 'Why FG Cancelled Agreement With Lufthansa'

Photo: This Day
Lufthansa Airlines

Lagos — Reasons emerged, weekend, why the Federal Government cancelled its agreement with the German airline, Lufthansa, under which the airline enjoyed free royalty payments for flights into the country.

Sources in the Ministry of Aviation disclosed that the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, instigated the cancellation of the four-year agreement upon revelations that the German airline failed to fulfill its side of the agreement signed in November 2008.

Oduah, it was learnt, moved to cancel the agreement following the advice from the Attorney General of the Federation that the country had sufficient reasons to cancel the agreement upon the confirmation that the airline had not fulfilled its pledges.

Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the government and Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft (LH)Germany, the German airline was expected to provide technical assistance to the country besides creating a hub inAbujain partnership with other international airlines. The German airline was on its part expected to benefit through additional traffic rights on concessionary basis.

Though the airline got its additional flight rights into the country it, however, was unable to actualise its own part of the agreement.

Remarkably, the Senate Committee on Aviation had recently ordered the Ministry of Aviation to recover N2.198bn ($14.8 million) from Lufthansa being amount not paid by the airline since 2009 when the agreement came into being.

What finally moved the Ministry of Aviation to terminate the agreement, it was learnt, was a memo from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to the minister which detailed the failures of Lufthansa.

The memo read in part: "Having carefully analysed the submission, it was clear that Lufthansa appeared to be the only beneficiary of the MoU as the implementation of the agreement which was planned in phases was yet to progress beyond the traffic rights granted to Lufthansa to operate daily flights from Frankfurt to Abuja.There is no evidence to show any serious commitment on the part of Lufthansa airlines to the realization of the agreement."

Besides NCAA, theNigerianCollegeof Aviation Technology,Zariawhich was to benefit from the agreement also made known to the minister that only one of its personnel got the opportunity to benefit from Lufthansa's training programme.

Under the MOU domiciled in the United Kingdom it was learnt that both parties agreed to waive off claims that may arise upon a mutual agreement to cancel the agreement.

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