The Airline Operators of Nigeria has expressed displeasure about the numerous issues in the aviation industry, adding that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria is responsible for the flight delays and cancellations.
They said the inadequacy of critical infrastructure at the airport is responsible for the numerous flight delays in the country. This was disclosed at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said when it comes to flight delays and cancellations so many things are involved which many people do not know but rather blame the airlines, adding that no airline in the world would want to delay flights because of the cost implications.
“How would I just wake up and want to delay my flight when I know I am going to incur a heavy cost.”
Further speaking, Onyema said Nigerian airlines are operating in a very hostile environment with limited infrastructure.
“The Airlines are at the mercy of everybody. The owners of airlines in Nigeria are patriotic because it is not profitable. They are doing it as a service to Nigeria and should be applauded, not demonised.
“Nigerian indigenous airlines are performing under certain conditions that we should be applauded for still staying afloat. Is it forex, or fuel infrastructure? How about bird strikes in a good country? the airlines would have gone to court against FAAN for all the bird strikes because we pay for these services. Air Peace alone had had over twenty bird strikes in a year.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, United Nigeria Airlines and Spokesperson for AON, Prof Obiora Okonkwo, said there is huge racketeering in the aviation fuel imports to the detriment of the airlines.
According to him, aviation fuel selling above N800/litre isn’t acceptable as our calculation shows that it shouldn’t be selling above N500/litre.
He said, “the authorities should make forex available and do something about the fuel racketeering. We are paying above the real cost. We are not asking for free money nor subsidy but the right thing should be done as the burden is transferred to the travellers.”
The President/Chief Executive Officer, Top Brass Aviation, Capt. Roland Iyayi noted that the inadequacy of critical infrastructure impacts more on flight delays more than any other thing.
He said that even check-in counters are not enough, the apron area isn’t enough and the airports are mostly sunsets thus unavailable for night operations.
“The truth is, have you gone to Abuja Airport during peak hours? Do you have about ten airlines in one small living room? If you have, for example, if an airline has Owerri, Enugu, Kano, Jos and Maiduguri flight schedules, those destinations should have individual desks, but it’s not so.”