Med-View Airline PLC has suspended its Dubai flight operation till March 25 as part of measures to adjust its international operations and reposition them for better performance and consistency.
The Dubai operation which was launched November last year was suspended till March when the airline’s aircraft B767-300 ER under refurbishment would have returned to services.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole disclosed this while briefing newsmen, saying passengers who had already booked with the airline would be airlifted via another airline through interline arrangements.
The briefing came against the backdrop of last Friday’s cancellation of London flight with the airline alleging sabotage by Gatwick Airport Authorities and the ground handling service which withdrew its services without prior notice.
Bankole told newsmen that the airline has been consistent with its financial obligations with the service providers in UK, saying the ground handling providers, Menzies, had “no basis to do what they did”.
“Traditionally, we have a contract. Menzies Aviation is our ground handling agent and the second one is Gatwick Authority. We have done a transaction of £1.5 million with them. We have paid Gatwick Authority £1.45 million”.
According to him, the airline pays Menzies, the ground handler, charges £5000 per landing and there is an existing security account containing £45,000 that could be withdrawn.
On Dubai operation, Bankole said, “We have shut down Dubai operation till March when our own aircraft B767-300 ER christened, ABEKE returns from complete refurbishment in the UK. Passengers who have booked with us will be flown to their destinations via interline arrangements”, he explained.
The MD disclosed that the airline maintains its flight to Jeddah via Kano, adding, that it West Coast operations to Anglophone and Francophone countries have not changed.
Bankole noted that it is impossible for Nigerian airlines to compete with big carriers like British Airways, Air France, KLM, Emirates, Lufthansa, Delta and others because of difficulty in accessing foreign exchange, tough operating environment and inaccessibility of spare parts.
“We do not have the resources to get aircraft of $50m. You cannot access dollars. I am still looking for $2.3 dollars from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay for lease of aircraft. Secondly, there is no place in this country or this part of the world where you have basic maintenance facilities in case anything happens to your aircraft,” he said.