Nigeria: Polls' Anxiety Engenders Mixed Fortunes in Air Travel Business

11 February 2019

Local air travel business has recorded mixed fortunes on account of the campaigns and multiple movements of very important personnel (VIPs) nationwide.

Though charter and rotary wing operators are smiling to the banks over the boom, their commercial counterparts are rather experiencing the opposite, given incessant flight disruptions and reduced load factor.

More worrisome are the next two weekends when general elections would hold, as movement would be restricted alongside the attendant losses for airlines.

The Guardian gathered that business had been good for at least the 15 charter operators.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the airlines said: "This is the season for charter operations and I am not surprised at the turn of events."

He confirmed that all the five aircraft in his fleet were all booked for the entire month.

The chief executive observed that the build-up started very slowly unlike 2015 general elections.

"The demand is still not overwhelming, as only two groups are demanding for the services right now. Notwithstanding, it is still a good time for our business."

Even the presidency had lately been patronising private operators for campaigns and related assignments. Sources had blamed this development on depletion of aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF).

However, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been battling to curtail activities of uncertified operators.

The apex regulator lately warned the public, especially the political class, against patronising illegal operators.

Its spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye, reminded all that holders of Air Transport Licence (ATL) and Airline Operating Permit (AOP) with valid AOC were the only authorised operators to carry out such activities across the federation.

But on the other end are commercial operators that have both directly and indirectly been affected by the politically charged climate.

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