It may take the aviation sector more than two quarters to recover its revenue losses incurred during the six-week closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, despite meeting the deadline for its reopening, said operators.
They put the loss at more than 35 per cent of revenue projection of first quarter of 2017, made possible by cancellation of flights on the alternative route, Kaduna Airport, by most foreign airlines.
However, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) spokesman, Sam Adurogboye confirmed that domestic flight operations globally has been witnessing some decline in the recent past.
According to him, Abuja Airport closure did not impact negatively on the operators as was predicted.
But former Minister of Aviation, Babatunde Omotoba, in his review of the industry’s performance during the airport closure had predicted that the sector would lose close to $1 billion because of it.
He added that in 2016 Nigeria suffered a declined by 67 per cent in the first quarter and has so far recorded about 68 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, with the airport closure contributing slightly to the higher rate compared with the same period in 2016.
“Of course, the fact that six weeks were the period that flights to a country’s capital means there must be reduction in flights, but it is not as much as 35 per cent, “ he said.
Adurogboye explained that many domestic airlines reduced their frequency to Kaduna airport because many passengers rescheduled their movements either to travel by road or had suspended their movements during the period.
But Mr. Abdulahi Saroke, Station Manager, Azman Air, told NAN that given the huge sum of revenue losses suffered by the various operators, it would take the end of third quarter to balance the books.
He stated that the failure of the foreign airliners to fly to Kaduna Airport throughout the period saw local operators, most of which offer their services to passengers from international flights, cancel flights because of insufficient passengers.
Meanwhile the request of compensation from First Airline, by government for revenue loss it suffered during the closure, has not received any positive response from the authorities, as even the NCAA has declined comment on the issue.
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