Domestic airlines in Nigeria airlifted over three million passengers in six months of 2017 but this figure represents a 21 percent decrease compared to the 4,193,862 passengers airlifted within the same period last year.
The following reasons can be attributed to the nosedive in air passengers decline in Nigeria:
Current economic hardship in the country:
According to the Consumer Protection Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the decrease is due to the current economic hardships in the country, which is affecting air travel adversely.
Number of airplanes:
Records obtained from the NCAA show that only 45 airplanes are currently in active service out of the 74 planes in the fleet of the eight domestic airlines servicing Africa’s most populous nation at present.
The airlines are Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Azman Air, Dana Air, Med-View, Overland, First Nation and Air Peace.
Number of flights operated:
Another factor is the number of flights operated by the above stated airlines. The numbers declined by 28 percent as they were only able to operate 21,662 flights in the first half of 2017.
On the contrary, the eight airlines collectively operated 30,100 flights within the first six months of 2016, according to NCAA records.
Steady depletion of airplanes:
The drop in the number of flights operated by the airlines is also connected with the steady depletion of airplanes in the fleet of the airlines.
Removal of value-added tax:
Some of the issues that needed to be addressed included removal of value-added tax for domestic airlines and a review of the five per cent ticket sales charge to a flat rate.
Harmonisation of multiple charges:
The combination of over 35 multiple charges is becoming a huge burden on the airlines.
Poor navigation and landing:
Another factor plaguing Nigerian airlines is a lack of navigational and landing aids limiting operations to only daytime at most Nigerian airports.
High cost and epileptic supply of aviation fuel:
With the high cost and epileptic supply of aviation fuel, Jet A1, ease of doing business in the aviation sector has been hindered and consequently seen a reduction in passengers.
Review of Bilateral Air Service Agreement:
Federal Government should as a matter of urgency review Nigeria’s Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs), this has granted multiple entry points to foreign airlines.
The issue of giving multiple destinations to the foreign airlines is not good for the country economically because it is killing our domestic airlines.
Advisedly, BASAs should be reviewed to stop the open-sky arrangement, where one foreign airline can fly to Abuja, Lagos or any other of our international airports.
He also advised the domestic airlines to consolidate to survive the harsh operating environment in Nigeria.
Airline operators need to stop their cut-throat competition as it is doing no good to the aviation industry.