Our Reporter: LOUIS IBA
Foreign airlines operating in Nigeria raked in a total of N231 billion in ticket sales in 2013 financial year. This was as Nigeria’s domestic airlines managed a lean N73 billion within the same period.
Statistics on the operation of the nation’s aviation industry released yesterday by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), regulator of the industry, depicted an imbalance in the incomes of domestic and foreign airlines operating in the country.
Usman Mukhtar, Director General/CEO of NCAA, who addressed aviation correspondents in Lagos, however, said the ongoing transformation of domestic airports was what even boosted the incomes of local airlines doing business on local routes as patronage by Nigerians has increased.
“The Federal Government has changed the face of aviation in Nigeria in an unprecedented manner through wide ranging remodelling of all the airports in Nigeria and undoubtedly this has made flying experience to various destinations in the country a worthwhile experience,” he stated.
But on international routes, Nigerian airlines have not done very well compared to the foreign airlines who were raking billions of naira out of Nigeria yearly unchallenged.
The figure, observers insist, could go up by the end of this year (2014) if more Nigerian airlines are not empowered to ply foreign routes.
It also shows a rise in traffic on international flights emanating from Nigeria, while patronage on domestic routes remained low. The disproportional revenue earnings between foreign and domestic airlines which resulted in the huge loss to the economy, the NCAA boss said was fallout of the inability of Nigeria to invest in airlines to reciprocate its Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with 78 countries.
“Nigeria has become an attractive destination for foreign airlines as there are now increasing applications for additional frequencies by foreign airlines,” Mukhtar said.
“At present, Nigeria has BASA with 78 countries. However, some of these are not being utilised. In 2013, domestic airlines were able to ferry 277,000 passengers within the West African Coast routes and 437,000 passengers were moved on intra-African routes. But on the intercontinental routes about 1.4 million passengers were airlifted by international airlines.
Source : SunOnline