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Nigeria threatens to ground British Airway flights

Posted by Reuters on 2008/12/20 | Views: 1953 |

Nigeria threatens to ground British Airway flights


Nigeria's government has threatened to ground British Airways flights between London and Lagos within a week if the carrier does not abide by its approved flight schedule, the aviation ministry said.

Nigeria's government has threatened to ground British Airways flights between London and Lagos within a week if the carrier does not abide by its approved flight schedule, the aviation ministry said.

New Aviation Minister Babatunde Omotoba, who was sworn in earlier this week, warned the carrier that its operations will be halted in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos from Friday if its flights from London continued to land later than 6 p.m. (5:00 p.m. British time).

"(Omotoba) has directed British Airways to revert to their original approved flight schedules or have their operations shut down," said Adeyemi Nelson, the ministry's spokesman.

"All international flights should arrive in Nigeria at the latest 6 p.m. for the comfort and safety of air travellers." BA officials were not immediately available for comment.

Travel from the international airport to Victoria Island, the city's financial centre, can take as long as four hours depending on the traffic and armed robberies are common, especially during the evening.

Lagos, a city of 14 million people, is eager to improve its crime-ridden image, a major disincentive to investors in Africa's most populous nation.

Nigeria is essentially a cash economy and there is often a crime wave in the build-up to Christmas, when traders and customers carry large sums of money.

But the attacks are usually opportunistic, carried out by gunmen who pose as policemen at fake roadblocks or by criminals who steal at gunpoint from drivers trapped in traffic jams.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Randy Fabi/Victoria Main)

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