by Stanley Azuakola
This year’s been one of the toughest for Nigeria’s aviation sector. A plane crash, airlines going down, and what we are left with is a ‘near- monopoly where two airlines are dominating the domestic services.’
As a result of these, the Federal Government is reportedly facilitating the registration of four additional airlines. And these airlines are expected to fully commence operation by next year.
Consequently, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been charged to quickly register airlines that met outlined conditions without impediments or delays in order to put an end to the suffering of Nigerian air passengers who are presently paying exorbitant fares for local travel.
Air fares have risen to as high as N40,000 for a one-hour flight in some cases. The situation worsened following the end of operations by First Nation Airways, the grounding of Dana Air in June and the bankruptcy of Air Nigeria a few months later.
Thisday newspaper reports that: Although it is expected that Dana Air would resume operation by end of October and Med View Airlines, which recently joined scheduled air operation, would also resume this month but these airlines have few aircraft in their fleet so they would not have enough capacity that could help to cut down the fares.
Presently air transport is the costliest in Nigeria, which is the highest in any peaceful country in the world and why this is considered anti-development is because the country has a safe airspace with modern instrument landing system and radar and the high cost of fuel is not peculiar to Nigeria.
An industry insider who supports the move of the FG to register the four new airlines, said that: “In the last few months the situation has been dramatic due to the grounding of Air Nigeria, Dana Air and when Arik stopped operation for three days Aero’s lack of capacity led to the suffering of passengers.”