- Explains baggage issues; pleads for customers’ understanding
CHAIRMAN, United Nigeria Airline, High Chief Obiora Okonkwo PHD has called for synergy in the aviation industry stressing that co-operation or possible mergers will help create bigger, stronger airlines as the market is so vast that there is no need for rancor.
He made this known when he paid a visit to the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) where he also said that the airline is not under any illusions because of its initial passenger traffic figures because there is under-capacity but stressed that UNA will adjust as the market continues to evolve. READ ALSO: United Nigeria unveils medium term plans for aircraft acquisition, MRO establishment in Enugu
The united Chairman said,”I am a strong advocate of cooperation. The market is huge, there should be synergy among the operators in a short term. There could also be a possibility of merger. People can merge their operations to become a bigger and stronger airline and use existing equipment for themselves.
“The industry has a room for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which allows growth and exchange of tools. You may have some spare parts that you don’t need in the immediate and your colleague requires it, you may exchange it and return such spare part when yours arrive.
“United Nigeria Airlines is open and willing to maintain such a relationship and we have actually signed such an MoU with some of the operators. There is no need for anybody to be envious of the other; the market is huge for all who are involved in it,” he said.
UNA had announced that it within four weeks of its operations it operated about 25,000 passengers and was currently doing about 3,200 passengers weekly but stressed that it didn’t believe it would continually be this rosy as they also expect some bad days too.
Dr. Okonkwo said, “The passenger load is good now, but how do we adjust? We have to adjust as the time comes. When we took off the first week, we had full load and we have since been thinking of adjusting our operations. We know where we are, we know our space and we are not distracted by anyone. We know those bad days will come and we have to make adjustment for those bad days.
Following complaints the travelling public has had with regards the airline’s inability to airlift their baggage, United Nigeria Airlines tendered an apology as well as gave an explanation on why the situation is currently so especially on the Asaba route and a promise to nip it soonest.
According to the chairman, a typical Nigerian will want to travel with a lot of things stressing that these challenges are there; and that is why wants to do something that will accommodate that and so far, it is coming around those baggage challenges and is dealing with them.
This he said is one reason the airline is also considering a bigger aircraft to accommodate both passengers and baggage effectively but said that the baggage issue is mostly on the Asaba route and the airport has its own peculiar challenges.
According to him, the challenge bores down to availability of Jet A 1. And what makes the Asaba route peculiar is the fact that Jet A1 is hardly available because there is just one marketer in the airport and when he doesn’t have it becomes an issue and luggage or travelers have to be dropped to balance out the aircraft.
He called on the travelling public to understand and exercise restraint instead of taking laws into their own hands, assaulting staff and insulting airlines especially now that there is a consortium in place to take over the Asaba Airport.
According to him, the challenges there are well documented and “I am sure they will proffer a solution to it because this peculiar situation with fuel doesn’t happen in Lagos or Abuja or Enugu