A few weeks ago when the whole Arik/Nigeria/British Airways landing slots drama was raging, I decided to put in a Freedom of Information request to the UK’s Department for Transport.
Point was, as much as there was so much noise about the BASA, I didnt actually see any newspaper publish a copy of the agreement so we could at least see what parts were not being adhered to by the British as our Aviation Minister said.
Long story short, the documents were emailed to me today by the DfT and I am sharing them shere.
Obviously the drama has since moved on from landing slots to ticket prices and an anti-trust fine but I suppose we wont be less informed by reading this.
This is a long boring document and being what appears to be the first agreement between both countries, it is quite detailed with all terms defined.
It’s not clear where this meeting took place but the noteworthy stuff is on page 31 where the number of frequences and aircraft types are listed.
2005 – Meeting in Abuja
This appears to have been the first meeting since 1988. Perhaps someone remembered how outdated the agreement we had in place was and decided to update it.
Nigeria seemed to drive a hard bargain here not only requesting which airport it wanted, but which particular terminal it also wanted at Heathrow. It also appears that before this meeting, there really was no BASA in place as both sides were flying any number of frequencies they could.
2006 – Meeting in London
This was an update to the previous agreement above. I am not sure what triggers these meetings. But the changes here included the inclusion of Abuja and Manchester as destinations for both countries. Both sides also agreed on 3 airlines each and Nigeria removed Nigeria Airways and replaced it with Virgin Nigeria i.e. Arik, Bellview and Virgin Nigeria became the 3 Nigerian carriers.
Nigeria also complained about Heathrow slots and the British agreed to look into it.
Interestingly I dont recall any Nigerian airline making use of the Manchester Airport access we had.
2008 – Meeting in London
Another update, this time British airlines could land in Abuja, Lagos or Kano while Nigeria could land at Heathrow or any other London airport (Gatwick, London City, Stansted). Manchester dissapeared from the list here perhaps reflecting that Nigeria was never going to make use of it.
The document states that the meeting was held in a ‘friendly’ atmosphere even though the issue of access to Heathrow was once again brought up with the British promising to do all they could to make sure Nigeria had access.
What is interesting from all of the above is that these meetings seemed to be taking place fairly frequently since 2005. Given that the current BASA has been in place since 2008, I wonder why the Minister didnt just call a meeting to update the agreement as opposed to slashing BA’s landing slots.
There’s also nothing in the latest BASA (2006) that says it must remain in place for a certain period, so why not ask for an update if you feel aggrieved?
Also, while the British have found a way to utilise their own landing slots in Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria seems to be only interested in Heathrow. We never made use of Manchester (I stand to be corrected on this) even though there’s a fairly decent Nigerian population up there.
All in all, it’s hard to see what the whole noise/beef was all about from these documents.
But you be the judge after you’ve read through them
P.S The names of the signatories to the agreement were redacted by the DfT as per normal with FoI requests.
Document below confirms this
Apologies for hosting the docs inside the post, Google Docs let me down on this occassion.