Flight delays and cancellation witnessed by travellers in Nigeria may continue to persist, as the country’s civil aviation regulator, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has stated that it is beyond its control.

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The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said: “The problem is that a lot of the airlines don’t even have the capacity to meet current financial obligations.

“If you have three aircraft for instance and you lose one out of it, it has become a problem to meet up with your operations. Then, you start to have issues of flight delays, cancellations and all that.

“The number of aircraft you will have will depend on the kind of operations you want to do. You can imagine somebody who comes in with just two aircraft and one of the aircraft goes out of business, whereas he has sold tickets to the passengers, think of what will happen.

“For you to have six aircraft, it shows you have very strong financial backgrounds of running an airline.

“It is not only for new entrants, but the old ones too have a period by which they have to comply. If everybody has one or two aircraft, we will keep having this recurrent problem.

“We have to avoid that. People will criticize, but every country is different. We have to look at our own peculiar history and try and come with solutions, but regulations are not cast in stones. If the situation changes the regulation would be reviewed accordingly. Whenever it is necessary, we don’t have to wait for five years before we make amendments.

“What again we are trying to do is to institutionalize NCAA, we want to make NCAA a proper institution so that the standard across the board is maintained. It is still an ongoing process.”

According to the NCAA,
a total of 2,791,591 passengers passed through the nation’s domestic airports in the first quarter of 2023. While 1,391,560 passengers were inbound, 1,400,031 were outbound.

Out of this total of 2,791,591 passengers, 10,128 were delayed, while 11 domestic airlines operating in the country cancelled 284 flights in the period under review.

Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest carrier topped the list with the highest number of cancelled flights with 63, followed by Max Air with 56. Arik cancelled 43 flights, Aero Contractors 40, Azman Air 20, and Green Africa 16.

Overland cancelled 15 flights, Value Jet 15, Ibom air 9, Dana air 5, and United Airlines 2.