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Nigerian carriers lost 60% regional, international passengers

By on June 8, 2017

Capacity constraints have clipped the wings of Nigerian airlines on the regional and international fronts with their operations reducing by over 60 per cent from 2016 till date; checks by Daily Trust have shown.

An analysis of international flight operations summaries of 2016 and 2017 first quarters indicated that the country’s domestic airlines which were hitherto making wave on the regional and international scenes had disappeared with substantial drop on the number of passengers ferried.

For instance, while Nigerian carriers operated 1,070 regional and international flights between January and March 2016, the figure dropped to 402 flights in the first quarter of 2017.

Out of eight domestic carriers in Nigeria, only five-Arik Air, Med-View, Aero Contractors, Dana Air and Air Peace operated regional and international flights in the periods being reviewed.

On the international scene, Arik and Med-View fly Nigerian flags.

However, from 2016 till date, the trend has changed with Arik Air’s name now missing on the international scene after suspending its London, New York and Johannesburg flights, leaving Med-View as the only Nigerian carrier on the international scene with its London-Gatwick flight operated on Wednesdays and Sundays.

On the regional operations, Dana Air and Aero Contractors suspended their flights to Accra, Ghana while Air Peace only filled one of the slots in February when it commenced flight operations to Kotoka International Airport, Ghana.

At present, more than 95 per cent of international passengers are ferried by 26 foreign airlines with the large chunk of revenue expectedly going to those carriers.

While local airlines; put together, carried 82, 411 and 91,995 inbound and outbound passengers at regional and international levels in the first quarter of 2016 (January-March), the figure dropped to 21,322 and 29,288 inbound and outbound in the first quarter of 2017.

Experts say though Nigeria has the market in terms of passenger traffic, foreign carriers, including the East African ones, would continue to dominate due to capacity constraints by the local airlines.

The trend is expected to change marginally this year with Med-View Airline and Air Peace announcing their plans for international flights. Med-View had disclosed that it would flag off flights to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the most patronised routes by Nigerian travellers by July 4.

Speaking with Daily Trust, an aviation analyst, Mr. Chris Aligbe, said government should give more support to local airlines operating international flights since they not only ploughed back their resources into the country but helped in conserving the scarce foreign exchange.


[Daily Trust]