The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday revealed that 27 foreign airlines operating into Nigeria made a staggering N231 billion from ticket sales in Nigeria in 2013.
The regulatory agency also disclosed that unlike their foreign counterparts, the domestic carriers made just N73 billion from the sales within the same period.
According to NCAA, all the domestic airlines carried over 5 million passengers in the country in the year under review.
Its Director-General, Capt Mukhtar Usman, made the disclosure in his keynote address at the 20th annual seminar of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC),at NCAA Annex, Murtala Muhammed International Airport(MMIA), Lagos.
He said British Airways, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Air France/ KLM, Delta Air Lines, Qatar Airways, South African Airways, Egypt Air, Kenya Airways and Turkish Airlines top the list of foreign flying into the country.
Others include Alitalia, Iberia, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Royal Air Maroc.
Usman, represented by the Director of Consumer Protection, Mallam Adamu Abdulahi, also told the gathering that on the West Africa coast routes, 277,000 passengers were transported with 437, 000 moved within other African countries.
Adamu said 1.4 million passengers were flown in 2013 on the intercontinental routes.
” all these were achieved with the domestic airlines operating a total of 63,000 frequencies across the country while on the West Coast; there were 4000 frequencies, Intra – Africa 4000 and inter-continental 7300 frequencies.” He said.
“Nigeria has therefore become an attractive destination for foreign airlines and ceaseless application for additional frequencies. At present Nigeria has BASA with 78 countries. However, some of these are not being utilised.
“In order to strengthen and widen our BASA with existing and new countries, Nigerian delegates will be attending the InternationalCivil Aviation organisation (ICAO), Air Services Negotiation
Conference (ICAN 2014) from November 17 to 21, 2014 at Bali, Indonesia”, the DG said.
Speaking on the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) relations entered into by the country, he said Nigeria has 78 such agreement with other countries but are grossly under utilised.
He said “In recognition of the increase in the volume of passengers, the Directorate of Consumer Protection, DCP, has intensified efforts to process complaints and ensure comfort of air travellers”.
Chairman of LAAC, Mr. Chukwuemeka Iwelunmo urges the federal government to continue the remodelling exercise of the airports through radical development of infrastructure in the sector.
Iwelunmo also charged the government to encourage domestic airlines in the country to ensure their survival and equally challenged domestic airlines operators to come together through merger in order to sustain their operations.
He reiterated that the owner manager syndrome had continued to crumble most of the domestic airlines in the country, affirming that this must be stopped if they are to survive.