Air Travellers Paid N30,793.43 Average As Fare In Jan- NBS

Perhaps, owing to a combination of Nigeria’s troubled aviation sector whose operators are riddled by the tough operating environment particularly the cost of fueling and foreign exchange for spare parts and consumables, among others data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), on Wednesday showed that average cost of flying from a part of the country to the other stood at N30,793.43 in January 2017.
No figure was given for the comparable period of 2016, as air fares to Benin City, the Edo State capital; Yola, Adamawa State and Asaba, Delta State were the highest. Passengers paid N40,000.00 for air travel to Benin City; N3700 to Yola in the North East of the country; and N35.900 to Delta.
Katsina, Kaduna and Kebbi, all in the North West attracted the lowest fares, beginning with Katsina, N18,900.93; Kaduna, N23,308.48; and Kebbi, N25,000.
According to the report, average air fares to Maiduguri, Borno was N35,878.89; ans Calabar, Cross River stood at N35,758. Travellers to Abuja, Kwara, Taraba and Akwa Ibom paid N35,000 for a return ticket; followed by Enugu, N34,500; Gombe, N33,500 per flight.
As a result of the sorry state of the Nigerian aviation industry, many are operating sub-optimally, leading to flight delays and outright cancellation, which often leaves many air passengers stranded at the various airports.
Last week and exactly one year after the takeover of Aero Contractor, Nigeria’s oldest private airline, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), appointed new management for equally troubled Arik Air, the nation’s largest domestic airline over a N300 billion owed to various banks, which was acquired as bad debts.
The corporation announced the appointment of Capt Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, an aviation expert as managing director, under the receivership of Mr. Oluseye Opasanya (SAN).
It would be recalled that the corporation, had in February last year taken over equally troubled and indebted Aero. By last August, AMCON put Aero’s debt at N40 billion.
The takeover followed Wednesday’s invasion of Arik Air’s premises by Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives, a day earlier, whisking away the Executive Chairman, Chief Johnson Arumemi-Ikide.
According to Jude Nwauzor, spokesman of AMCON, the event leading to the appointment of a receiver/manager for Arik was not sudden, noting that “Arik Airline has been in a precarious situation largely attributable to its heavy financial debt burden, bad corporate governance … that required immediate intervention.
“For some time now, the airline, which carries about 55 per cent of the load in the country, has been going through difficult times that are attributable to its bad corporate governance and erratic operational challenges. Others are inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before the airline goes under like many before it,” he added.
Continuing, Nwauzor said the move emphasises the Federal Government’s decision to instill sanity in the all-important aviation sector, besides enabling the airline to operate regularly and undisrupted, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector.
The airline is said to require N10 billion to restart business.

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