Uncertainty In Nigeria’s Avaition Industry As Namibia Airline Halts Operations

The inability to save money for aircraft checks, poor infrastructure and lack of comprehensive maintenance facility are some of the major factors responsible for the failure of airlines in Nigeria.

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Surprisingly, Air Namibia, the national airline of the Republic of Namibia, has suspended its Windhoek – Lagos – Accra flight with effect from Friday. The suspension came barely one year after the launch of the flight.

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Daily Trust learnt that the suspension followed the yet to be resolved diplomatic standoff with Nigeria. The airline in a statement announcing the suspension on Friday said the route which was launched in June 2018 started off well with impressive load factors.

LIST OF DEFUNCT AIRLINES IN NIGERIA

The 45 defunct airlines include: ADC Airlines, Afrijet Airlines, Air Atlantic Cargo, Air Nigeria, Albarka Air, AL-AIR Al-Dawood Air, Amako Air, Amed Air, Arax Airlines, Axiom Air, Barnax Air, Bellview Airlines, Capital Airlines, Chrome Air Service, Dasab Airlines, Earth Airlines, EAS Airlines, Easy Link Aviation, Freedom Air Services, Fresh Air, GAS Air Nigeria, Hamsal Air, Harco Air Services, Hold-Trade Air, British Aircraft Corporation.

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Others are: IAT Cargo Airlines, Intercontinental Airlines (Nigeria), Mangal Airlines, Meridian Airlines , Nicon Airways, Nigeria Airways, Nigeria One, Nigerian Global Aviation, Okada Air, Overnight Cargo Nigeria, Pan African Airlines, Premium Air Shuttle, Sosoliso Airlines, Space World International Airlines, Trans Sahara Air , Triax Airlines, Virgin Nigeria and Wings Aviation.

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However, the statement indicated that on February 2019, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia banned the issuing of visas to Namibian passport holders.

It said in addition, there were messages circulating in Nigeria about Namibia being “anti-Nigeria”, with travelers being urged to avoid visiting Namibia, as well as avoid using Windhoek as a transit point when travelling to South Africa.

Acting GM Commercial Services of the airline, Mr Wimpie van Vuuren was quoted in the statement as saying that the ban of issuing visas to Namibians could be linked to allegations that Nigerians are normally ill-treated by Namibian border control officials at Hosea Kutako International Airport when arriving or transiting through Windhoek.

According to him, Air Namibia consulted various stakeholders to mitigate the diplomatic standoff, “but all efforts proved futile”.

The development therefore reduced the load factor on the route since many Namibians could not secure visas to come to Nigeria.

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The load factor, it said, dropped from average 55 per cent attained during June 2018 to January 2019, to between 35 per cent and 38 per cent during February to April 2019.

Manager Corporate Communications, Mr Paul Nakawa, explained that Air Namibia decided to suspend the flight indefinitely “in order to mitigate the related safety, non-compliance and commercial risks.

He said “Affected passengers will be assisted by accommodating them on flights operated by our partner airlines at Air Namibia’s cost, or they will be refunded if they opt not to fly anymore.”

FLIGHTS SUSPENDING OPERATION IN NIGERIA

About three years ago, in a report filed by thisdaylive,  foreign airlines’ funds trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was put at $900 million but the federal government granted the airlines access to FX at a concessionary exchange rate to enable them repatriate about 50 per cent of their ticket sales.

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Besides the huge funds trapped in Nigeria, the recession has led to a reduction in passenger traffic, forcing the foreign airlines to reassess the logistics of operating from Nigeria with low load factors.

 

Source: Daily Trust, Thisdaylive

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