…Says Domestic Carriers Lose $60M To Bird Strikes In 2021
…N20B Flight Delays, Cancellations, Refunds To Passengers.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria(AON), an umbrella body of domestic airlines operating in the country has stated categorically that it strongly objects to the multiple designation granted two foreign airlines; Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines by the Federal Government.
The move,AON said will stagnate the growth and development of domestic carriers.
This is just as the body also said airlines in the country lost over $60 million to bird strike in 2021 and also lost over N20 billion to flight delays, cancellations and refunds to passengers.
The Vice President of AON, Barrister Allen Onyema, who spoke for the airline body said these while speaking with journalists at its Secretariat at MMA2, Lagos today.
According to him, “AON object very seriously with the multiple designation given to Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. It is the believe of AON that the growth of Nigerian airlines will be stagnated if this continue like this. This will inhibit the growth of local airlines, who provide jobs for Nigerians. All the international airlines do not provide 10 per cent of the job provided by the smallest airline in Nigeria.”
Speaking further, Onyema stated that the granting of multiple designation to these foreign carriers would further worsen the precarious situation faced by local airlines operators, adding that what the Federal Government did would not augur well with the domestic airlines, who according to him provide employment for Nigerians.
Onyema, who is also the Chairman of Air Peace, lamented that multiple designation to foreign airlines would lead to domestic airlines folding up, adding that this contributed to why so many airlines have closed shop over the years.
On bird strike as one of the reasons for flight cancellation, the AON Vice President said that the frequency of bird strikes is worrisome and that it is of major concern to airline operators in the country.
He said that it cost about $2.5million to fixed an engine damaged by bird strike, adding that airlines are losing billions of naira as result of this, considering the fact that aircraft engines and other aircraft spares are not manufactured in Nigeria.
To buttress his point, Onyema said that Air Peace alone had 14 bird strikes in 2021, and four this year, adding that these have cost Air Peace billions of naira.
Onyema disclosed that domestic airline operators lost over $60 million to bird strike in 2021, while delays, cancellations and refunds for passengers cost airlines over N20 billion.
He called on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) to improve its wildlife surveillance at airports to stop the ugly trend.
Speaking further, Onyema disclosed that it cost $3 million to purchase one engines, appealing to the Federal Government to look critically the issue of bird strike.
On the delays and cancellation of flights by airlines, which have generated negative discussions against the carriers, Onyema said airlines does not derive any joy in cancelling flights, adding that it is not in the interest of airlines.
According to him, “Airlines does not enjoy delaying and cancelling flights. 98 per cent of these delays cannot be attributed to airlines. It is shocking when public officials join the fray to demonise airlines. Airlines are not the cause of delays and cancellations. Passengers have been emboldened to take laws into their hands while public officials and security agents watch.”
Airlines that were present at today’s briefing include: Azman, Air Peace, Aero, Arik, OmniBlue, Dana Air, Max Air and Overland Airways
Others are United Airlines, Caverton, Bristow Helicopters and Ibom Air