Flight delays/cancellations: AON fumes, says operators lose $60m to bird strikes, N20bn on refunds in 2021


L-R: Alhaji Abdulmunaf Sarina, president, AON, Barrister Allen Onyema, Vice president, Captain Edward Boyo, MD, Overland Airways and Alhaji Muneer Bankole, MD Medview airlines at the a Press conference at MMA2, Lagos on Wednesday



…asks FG to halt multiple designation of foreign airlines


Posted by Sade Williams
Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has raised an alarm over the negative effects of multiple designations of foreign airlines on Nigerian routes.
This is just as the airlines said they lost $60 million to bird strikes incidents in 2021 and over N20 billion to flight delays and cancellations.
Rising from the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, the AON said the recent designations of Qatar airways on Kano and Port Harcourt routes and also that of Ethiopian airlines, is a disservice to the domestic airlines, adding that such policy stagnates the airlines’ growth
Speaking on behalf of AON after the AGM, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Sarina, President and Barr. Allen Onyema, Vice president, said the capital flight that is involved is huge while domestic airlines suffer the consequence.
“Multiple designations deplete our national treasure, it inhibits growth of domestic airlines that provide the jobs. All the foreign airlines in Nigeria cannot provide 10 percent of the jobs being provided by domestic airlines. The policy is tantamount to loss of jobs, this is worsening the precarious crisis being faced by domestic operators. Qatar Airways operations is like domestic operations because it limits our capacity, some operators could close shops as a result of this”, the AON said.
Speaking on sundry issues beleaguering the options of the airlines,  Onyema said domestic operators lost $60 million in 2021 to bird strike incidents while they lost over N20 billion to issues arising g from flight delays and cancellations.
He said many of the issues were fixable but there has not been a delibrate action taken on them.
“Delays and cancellations are not what we enjoy, rather 98 percent of the issue is not caused by the airlines. Many issues ranging from Bird strikes, bad weather, lack of adequate space for check in, lack of adequate space for parking aircraft, Sunset airports and a host of others are the real cause of delays and cancellations.
“For instance, Air Peace alone had 14 bird strike incidents in 10 months in 2021, aircraft engines are replaced  when these incidents occur, the airlines are losing billions of naira to the menace. Government needs to improve on wildlife clearance at airports’ environments.
Speaking on the recent roar of fare increase, the operators said the N50,000 fare was not new, adding the insinuations that the operators held a meeting to discuss fare increase was not true.
“We are debunking the story that we met and agreed to increase fare, the N50,000 had always been on the inventory, it is a matter of working out the unit cost per seat.  Increase in Jet-A1 prices, forex crisis among other issues will also affect fares”, the operators said.

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