Aviation analyst faults FG on multiple entry points to foreign airlines
AS controversy continues to trail the federal government multiple entry points to foreign airlines, an aviation analyst, Group Captain John Ojikutu (retired) has again called for the review of the policy saying the practice was capable of sending the local carriers out of the domestic routes.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, Ojikutu called on those in charge of Bilateral Air Service Agreements at the ministry of aviation to stop allocating both the Lagos and Abuja routes to any foreign carrier, simultaneously.
“The emerging opportunity for the domestic airlines from the COVID-19 national guidelines and directives on the international airlines are what I have been saying repeatedly even before COVID-19 that you don’t open Lagos and Abuja to any foreign airlines but Lagos or Abuja and any other airport among Port Harcourt, Kano, and Enugu.
“We give our domestic routes to the foreign airlines through multiple destinations in our country and push the domestic airlines that can not effectively compete on the international routes out of the market on the domestic routes.
“No matter the number of aircraft in any of our domestic airlines today, we can still find it difficult to compete with the British Airways or Virgin Atlantic Airways 21 flights weekly from the UK or the over 50 flights weekly of Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, Turkey from the middle-east. There are over 15,000 flights by about 30 airlines annually carrying about 4 million international passengers each with about 3,000km mileage as against about 80,000 domestic flights by about six airlines carrying just about 5 million passengers each about 500 kilometre mileage.”
“With a population of over 200 million, our airlines need to do more internally than internationally. Why would they collectively target 20 million passengers domestically rather than struggling 5 million passengers on the international routes? Why would they not target 200,000 regular passengers that could travel at least twice a year at the 26 federal, states and private airports from each of the 36 states and FCT? Two hundred thousands from each of the states and FCT would fetch earnings from about 15 million passengers if each travels twice in a year or 30 if four times as against the present 5 million. Velaris is a domestic airline in Mexico that does domestic code sharing with airlines that fly to Mexico and carry over 40 million passengers. Mexico’s population is about half the size of Nigeria.”
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