Sunday, 17 February 2019

Domestic Airlines Lose N290m To Election Postponement

Major Nigerian airlines, Air Peace, Arik Air, and Dana Air, cancelled a total of 145 flights with a projected revenue loss of about N290, 000, 000 on Saturday, due to the sudden postponement of the elections.

The airlines decried the situation the announcement of the poll postponement had put them, saying it did not give them any chance to prepare to operate some flights later in the day.

It was learnt that airlines earn about N2 million revenue from high load factor of a Boing B737 for one hour flight, which could be higher, depending on destination. So, the airlines which largely operate medium size aircraft for their domestic flights lost that revenue in addition to the fact that they would still pay their crew and other services for the day they did not work.

Corporate Communications Manager of Air Peace, Chris Iwarah, said that the airline cancelled about 90 flights, including domestic and regional services. He said what was most painful about the cancellation was that the same number of flights would be cancelled next Saturday and the airlines were obliged to refund their passengers 100 per cent of their fares, despite the fact that banks have collected their commissions on the payment.

Iwarah said, “We cancelled about 90 flights today. This is a huge loss to our operations, but we take it as sacrifice for the stability of the country, but the sacrifice amounted to nothing when the election was cancelled.

“Our customers will come for refund and we will pay them their fare 100 per cent despite the fact that banks have taken their commission and next week we will do the same thing. We sent messages to all out customers about the cancellation and directed our offices in the town to remain closed for security reasons.”

He stated that the effect of the cancellation would not be felt for one day, but would continue to recur for the next six months. According to him, if the announcement of the postponement had come earlier, the airline would have adjusted its schedule and operated some flights.

Spokesman of Arik Air, Adebanji Ola, who spoke in the same vein, said the airline cancelled about 45 flights and noted that although five days before Saturday, Arik Air had notified its customers about the cancellation of Saturday flights, passengers still bought tickets because ticket purchase was already in the system. He regretted that similar cancellation would be done next Saturday and March 9, 2019, which would be a huge loss for the airline.

On his part, Head of Communications at Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, said that the airline cancelled about 10 flights but expressed the hope that it would operate Lagos-Abuja and Lagos-Port Harcourt in the evening of Saturday.

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