ONCE again, granting multiple designation to foreign airlines has been fingered as one major reason why local airlines cannot get a fair share of the huge market Nigeria as a country has to offer and a stakeholder is calling for caution in the grant of routes in the country.In a message to Nigerianflightdeck.com, Chief Executive of Centurion Securities, Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd) stated that with the increase of frequencies around the country for foreign airlines without regard for the indigenous airlines, the foreign carriers are grabbing traffic supposed to be ferried by the domestic carrier.
Ojikutu however canvassed a strategy that would benefit the domestic airlines if government can implement it.
According to him, government instead of granting multiple designation should limit the routes to just two per airline with one in the North and another in the South but not Lagos and Abuja as the airline should pick either or.
His message read,” Ethiopian Airline now operates 23 weekly flights to four Nigerian viable airports, British airlines operate 21 weekly flights to two Nigerian airports and the Middle East airlines of Emirates, Qatar and Turkish Airline operate over 30flights weekly to three destinations, where is the domestic market for our airlines if the foreign airlines are given multiple designation within our country?”
He posited,” why can’t government increase the frequencies to whatever but limit each airline to a maximum of two routes; one in the North and one in the South? But no airline should be allowed to fly both Lagos and Abuja, it has to be either one or the other.”
“It is well-known that none of our airlines have the capacity to compete with the foreign airlines on the international routes; that is a shame after over 70 years of aviation history in Nigeria.”
“It is even worse if they (foreign airlines) are given multiple designations thereby opening our domestic routes vis-à-vis the domestic market to our competitors.”
Ojikutu explained his strategy further:
“What should be done is that no foreign airline should be allowed to fly to Lagos and Abuja. Make these two airports our national hubs to both domestic and international airlines.”
“Reduce the spread of the foreign airlines to maximum of two international airports, one in the geographic north and the other in the south.”
“If you have Lagos and Abuja as hubs, British Airways can only fly to one of the two and no more to the two. It may however choose to go to Port Harcourt or Enugu in the south if it chooses Abuja. Virgin Atlantic can choose to go to Kaduna or Kano if it chooses to go to Lagos.”
“Same rationale for Emirates or Ethiopian Airlines however, any of these airlines could be allowed multiple frequencies to any of their selected airports daily or weekly. And in addition to my suggestions for BA, VA and Emirates, Ethiopian Airline should decide between Lagos or Abuja in addition to Enugu in the south”