The Nigerian airline industry’s umbrella body, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), has lamented the loss of $60 million and N60 billion in 2021 due to bird strikes, delayed flights, and cancelled flights, respectively.
The AON also stated that it never forced any of its members to fix the current contentious N50,000 minimum base fare on any economy seat to any of the country’s airports, claiming that the fares have always existed.
The leadership of the AON, speaking on Friday at the airline’s secretariat at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2) in Lagos, lamented poor infrastructure at all of the country’s airports as one of the major challenges confronting the airline’s growth, stressing that this is costing them billions of naira annually.
On behalf of the others, Barr. Allen Onyema, Vice President of AON, said that instead of blaming the operating airlines for flight delays and cancellations, the traveling public should be informed about the bad infrastructure at airports, which he claims caused the delays and cancellations.
He claimed that the bad working environment in Nigeria was to blame for 99 percent of delayed and canceled flights, and he urged government agencies to enhance ground facilities for the sake of the traveling public.
According to Onyema, Air Peace alone experienced 14 bird strikes in 2021 that harmed its engines, while the airline has experienced four bird strikes so far in 2022.
Apart from that, he stated that Air Peace reimbursed over N1 billion to passengers in one month due to delayed and cancelled flights, while Aero Contractors refunded over N500 million in January 2022 due to the same reasons.
He argued that this would not have happened if the agency in charge of chasing away the wildlife had done its job properly, and that reimbursements for delayed and cancelled flights would have gone to the airlines’ pockets as well.
‘The issue of bird strikes has been highly concerning, and this has an impact on safety,’ he said. Last year, Air Peace alone had 14 bird strikes, and we’ve already had four this year. The airlines aren’t supposed to be pursuing wildlife. It costs millions of dollars to replace just one engine.