Cablegate: Nigeria: Meeting with Minister of Aviation-

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) This is an action cable. See paragraph 9.

2. (U) On August 15 Ambassador Jeter met Minister of
Aviation, Kema Chikwe to discuss the status of code sharing
requests by Northwest, Delta and American Airlines with
their European partners. The Minister assured the
Ambassador that Northwest would be approved as a code-
sharer with KLM, which began flights out of Abuja on August

3. (U) However, she said that American and Delta could not
be certified because they have not submitted paperwork
through the proper channels. Minister Chikwe stated that
she had not been informed that Delta and American were
designated under the U.S.-Nigerian Air Transport Agreement,
though they were listed in the same Diplomatic Note as
Northwest. In addition to the Diplomatic Note sent by the
Embassy, she stressed that American and Delta must write
directly to her requesting code-sharing approval. (See
paragraph 9 for action request)

4. (U) Minister Chikwe said while code-sharing is fine, she
preferred that U.S. carriers fly directly to Nigeria and
not under the code-sharing wing of European partners. The
Ambassador mentioned that previously he had encouraged a
delegation from the Ministry to visit the U.S. to discuss
with American carriers of the profitability of flying
direct to Nigeria. Before they invest, American carriers
must also be convinced of airport security and safety, he

5. (U) The Minister countered by revealing Nigerian
Airways' plans to dominate the Nigeria- U.S. route. To be
more competitive, Nigerian Airways is vastly upgrading its
fleet, acquiring nine new aircraft- two Boeing 747s and
seven 767s. In addition, the Minister said Nigerian Airways
is undergoing major organizational restructuring. Nigeria
Airways is doing better but not as well as she would like,
crediting its slower than hoped progress and continued
mismanagement. She cited the lack of cultural diversity and
importation of new ideas as the primary impediment to the
airline's development. The Minister revealed her plans to
hire an experienced international staff to manage the
airlines. Anticipating opposition to this effort to hire
managers of other nationalities, she said some Nigerians
might resent this effort because they fear competition.

4. (U) While Minister Chikwe wants to diversify staff, she
opposed privatizing Nigeria Airways. She said, Nigeria's
efforts to privatize have been a dismal failure.
Privatization should be sequential, Ministry by Ministry
and not all at once. Rapid privatization is a recipe for
disaster and leads to inevitable conflicts with the
Ministers, she continued. The Minister said all of BPE's
privatization efforts have failed, citing Nitel and
NigerDock as prime examples. The Bureau of Privatization
contemplated privatizing Nigeria Airways, despite the
Minister's opposition but desisted when the Vice President

5. (SBU) Comment: Although perhaps overly bureaucratic in
her position that U.S. carriers must write a letter
addressed directly to her, she did not seem to oppose code
sharing for our air carriers. The Minister also clearly
acknowledged the need for major improvements to the
operations of Nigerian Airways, which requires capital and
industry knowledge. At the same time, she adamantly opposed
its privatization. Subsequent to the meeting, newspapers
began reporting that the Aviation Ministry intended to sell
49 percent equity share of Nigerian Air to a United Kingdom
based leasing company, Airwing. This plan would seem to
fit Chikwe's desire for the GON to maintain the controlling
interest in the Airline yet still inject needed capital and
know-how into its operation. However, according to some
reports, Airwing has no experience in airline operations,
except in aircraft sales and leasing. If so, the approach
might not repair the airliner's management problem.
Additionally, questions have been raised about the legality
of this plan as it is not under the auspices of BPE's
formal privatization procedure.

9. (U) Action Requested: The Department is requested to
inform Delta and American Airlines that they must submit a
letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation requesting
code-sharing approval.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Myanmar: Stop ‘Widespread Violence’ Against Children, UN Officials Urge

Senior United Nations officials on Thursday strongly condemned the ongoing violence by Myanmar’s security forces against civilians, including children, as the members of the Security Council expressed alarm at the rapidly deteriorating situation in ... More>>

COVID-19 Origins Report Inconclusive: We Must ‘Leave No Stone Unturned’ – WHO Chief

The report from a team of international scientists assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) to examine how COVID-19 first spread to humans was published on Tuesday, and was described by the UN health agency’s chief as a welcome start, ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>

Department Of Global Communications: UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Message For World Health Day 2021

5 APRIL 2021 As COVID-19 Reveals Immoral Inequities in Health System, Secretary-General Observance Message Calls for Applying Policies, Assigning Resources to Ensure Everyone Thrives Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World ... More>>