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By NBF News
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Chief Executive Officer of Mish Aviation Limited, Capt. Ibrahim K. Mshelia, has appealed to the Nigerian government to abolish customs duties on aircrafts and aircraft spare parts for Nigerian-owned airlines.

Mshelia said since Nigeria does not manufacture aircrafts or spares, heĀ  recommends a 100% waiver on spare parts imports in order to help indigenous airlines to be competitive with their global counterparts.

He made the appeal in Lagos recently while announcing the commencement of commercial pilot training at the West African Flying School in Accra, Ghana.

'This is what obtains in Ghana today, and that is why were able to successfully bring in all our training jets to Accra with little or no difficulty.

'Most competing airlines from Europe, North America and even some Asian countries do not need to spend additional money to ship and to pay custom duties for such items. The young and very small Nigerian airlines can better compete if they enjoy such import duty waivers,' he stated.

Speaking on aviation fuel, Mshelia also said that it is very critical for the government to help to ensure the regular and adequate supply of aviation fuel, popularly called Jet-A1, to the airlines through building of more refineries.

He said this will beat down the price and the airlines will be able to purchase the fuel at reduced rates, thereby leaving them with more money to plough back into their operations 'as it is understood that aviation fuel gulps much of the finances. This will help to check the incessant delays and outright cancellation of scheduled flights thatĀ  we are beginning to witness in Nigeria today on a large scale'.

On the issue of the dominance of the Nigerian airline market by foreign carriers, Mshelia pointed out that, 'BASA agreements between Nigeria and the UK, for instance, permits British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to fly a certain number of frequencies every week into Nigeria, and for Nigerian airlines to

similarly fly an equal number of frequencies to the UK'.

'But because our airlines are generally weak, we are not able to take full advantage of what rightly belongs to us. We should therefore blame ourselves, and not the foreign airlines. And this is why I subscribe to the clarion call to re-position Nigerian civil aviation industry'.

Speaking on the Mish aviation that will l will open its doors in a few weeks, he said 'We have received all the necessary licenses and approvals from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and we are set to roll out. The first set of student-pilots will resume classes in August 2011'.

Capt. Mshelia added that, 'Based on my knowledge, the Mish Aviation West African Flying School is the first private school established in the West African sub-region to train commercial pilots exclusively. We are here to complement what the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) is doing. Young

Nigerian, Ghanaian, Sierra-Leonian, Liberian, Gambian and nationals of other countries who desire world-class and affordable commercial pilot training now have a good place to realize their dream'.