Dana Air-ASKY partnership takes off with wet lease aircraft

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*Mbanuzuo

The multi-faceted agreements between Dana Air and ASKY Airlines have begun with ASKY-operated 118-capacity Boeing 737-700 aircraft flying 98 passengers from Abuja to Lagos.

It would be recalled that Dana Air had earlier announced that it would introduce what it calls “early bird service” with a B737-700 aircraft to operate on the Lagos-Abuja route “as part of the ongoing partnership with ASKY.”

Addressing journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2, Lagos when the aircraft arrived from Abuja on Monday, Dana’s chief operating officer, Mr. Obi Mbanuzuo said ASKY is operating the Abuja-Lagos service on behalf of Dana

“Today, you will see ASKY aircraft, wet lease to Dana air, operating on behalf of Dana Air. This initial partnership you see today is the aircraft lease part of it.

“ASKY is providing us Boeing 737-700 aircraft. There will be three aircraft flying at different times; it is a complex wet lease operation. They will provide an aircraft, take it and put another one in the system. There is also another 737-800 that will also be leased out to us. As time goes on, we will help our staff get acquainted and trained with the aircraft type. We will go further to entrench this agreement with the code share. We are discussing many of these agreements even with other airlines.

“If you want to go to Cotonou, we will provide you the same service. We will be a marketing carrier and they are the operating carrier. Tomorrow, we will code share with them on Lagos-Abuja. Dana Air will be a marketing carrier. This gives benefits to Dana Air and ASKY as well.

“Then we will entrench further the agreements. They also have an aircraft maintenance facility.  These are the things we are looking at in future. We are staring from one small point. We all talk about flying our aircraft elsewhere. Maybe in five years time, we will have a partner who will come and help us do the same thing here,” he said

On fear that the partnership would make ASKY exploit the Nigeria market using fifth freedom, Mbanuzuo said the agreement does not have a semblance of fifth freedom.

“Fifth freedom is similar to something like Air Peace going from Accra to Monrovia. Air Peace is Nigerian airline lifting passengers from Ghana to a third country, Liberia. This is fifth freedom. This is not supported by the Nigerian government and has never been in any way, shape or form. Lufthansa flies in from Frankfort to Lagos every day and further from Lagos, they go to Malabo and they are not allowed to carry passengers from Lagos to Malabo. They are not given fifth freedom and as far as I know, Nigerian government has no plans to give fifth freedom to anyone. Dana Air will not allow anyone to do that because it is taking the food from our own mouth. This is simply an aircraft agreement. This partnership is a temporal deal; it is not going to be forever. This partnership is for the benefit of the Nigerian market. Fifth freedom has no say here,” he said.

Thereafter, he talked about plans to have code share and some other agreements with the domestic carriers and other international airlines.

“We will probably have code share agreement with other domestic airlines in the near future. There are few international airlines that we are speaking with now. Dana Air’s plan is not necessarily spreading our own operations, we want to reach out. I want people come into our offices and go online and book our tickets to Sokoto. We do not fly to Sokoto currently. We are discussing with a particular airline domestically and in return, they will sell my Owerri tickets,” he said.

 

 

 

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