AON calls for immediate cancellation of multiple designations given to Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines into Nigeria
.... Says airlines lost over $60m to bird strike, ₦20billion to flight delays, cancellations in 2021
The Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON , has strongly objected to the multiple designation given to Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines into Nigeria, calling for their immediate cancellations.
Speaking during a well attended press conference by the Airline Operators in Lagos on Wednesday, Mr Allen Onyema, the Vice President of AON, who speak on behalf of the association stated that the the operations of Qatar and Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria is tantamount to domestic operations which may lead to some domestic airlines closing shops.
Onyema said these operations depletes the national treasury and inhibits the growth of domestic airlines.
He observed that the capital flights that follows the multiple designation of these airlines are unimaginable.
Onyema observed that all the foreign airlines put together do not provide in any way the kind of jobs domestic airlines provide for Nigerians.
He said the airlines lost over $60 million on bird strike while delays and cancellation caused the airlines over ₦20 billion in 2021.
Onyema disclosed that Air Peace alone suffered 14 bird strike last year and four this year already.
He stated that when bird strikes an aircraft, it takes out the engine and the airline has to cough out $2.5million for a new engine.
He decried the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel, Jet A1, from about ₦190 last year to over ₦450 now.
He said the high cost of Jet A1 is causing a lot of problems for domestic airlines operators as their lots are not improving in any way.
Air Peace boss called on the government to look into the availability and price of Jet A1 in Nigeria.
He said unless something is done as quickly as possible concerning the scarcity, consistent rise in the price of foreign exchange, many airlines might be forced to close shops because everything the airlines need comes from abroad.
The AON VP who was speaking the position of the body on a lot of issues pointed out that business in aviation is carried out in dollars which has risen from ₦340 to a dollar last year to about ₦585 – ₦600 to a dollar now.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for removing VAT and duty waivers on aircraft and spare parts which has gone a long way in enhancing their operations, Onyema noted that the implementation of the law by the officials of Nigeria Customs has been something else.
He pleaded with the Nigerian Customs to see to it that the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria is agendered .
On the burning issue of flight delays and cancellations, Onyema said no airline would like to delay or cancel flight for the sake of it.
According to him, 98 percent of the causes of flight delays and cancellation is not from the airlines but somewhere else
He said Nigerian Airlines are not the cause of flight delays and cancellations but bad weather, congested parking spaces at the Lagos and Abuja airports, the fact that many Nigerian airports are sunset airports, bird strikes, delays in clearance of aircraft spares by Customs, passengers unruly behaviours in blocking airlines going to another route because their route is being delayed due to bad weather, delays by ground handling companies in facilitating embarkation and disembarkation of passengers, among others.
Onyema explained that airline most times sacrificed Port-Harcourt, Lagos, Kano and Abuja passengers for those going to sunset airports .
No airline derives joy in delaying passengers as it will not pay the airline in delaying flights, Onyema said.
He condemned the barbaric act of passengers attacking airlines staff and destroying their properties once there is flight delays and cancellations.
Onyema said this is unacceptable to the airlines because the staff of these airlines are other people’s children, husbands and wives who deserve to be protected.
On the ₦50,000 ticket price, Onyema said the airlines did not get together at any time to increase price, stressing that the fare has always been there.