Despite the challenges bedevilling commercial flight operations in Nigeria, more investors are jostling to invest in the airline industry, according to a report by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
In a recent presentation at the Aviation Round Table (ART) breakfast forum in Lagos, NCAA disclosed that a total of 32 airlines made up of scheduled and charter operators had been in line since January, 2017 to obtain their Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and have been going through the stringent conditions to qualify for the certification.
NCAA said out of this number, 26 of the airlines have passed some of the five stages to obtain AOC.
Currently only seven airlines are on scheduled passenger service which include Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Overland Airways, Medview Airline, Dana Air, Air Peace and AZMAN.
Industry analyst and CEO of Aglo Limited, Tayo Ojuri said the Nigeria was yet to have saturated airline market, saying existing airlines concentrate on the three major destinations of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, leaving some potential busy routes unserved.
“We do not have airline market that is saturated. When people start the airline business, they only focus on the triangle routes. With right pricing, equipment, timing and route analysis, they are able to develop other routes,”
Ojuri explained that 10 years ago, operators only concentrated on Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, but now airlines fly to more airports.
According to him, there was the need to develop secondary routes like Benin, Kano-Enugu, Calabar-Kano and others.
“Look at the demography of those that are outside the country and those that have gone through Benin, you will understand that it is a route yet to be explored. Before 2015, Benin was the fourth largest passenger traffic airport. We have a lot of people from Edo and Delta State outside Nigeria,” he said.
Ojuri who noted that all the airlines operate about 40 aircraft, however, stressed the need to address infrastructure issues at the airports, high charges and multiple taxations of airlines.