Domestic airlines operating in Nigeria recorded 16,353 cases of delayed flights between January and June, statistics from the Consumer Protection Department of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have revealed.
A document issued by the department and obtained on Thursday by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, shows that 30,100 flights were operated by eight airlines during the period under review.
According to the document, 601 flights were cancelled for various reasons by the airlines.
It said the airlines in operation were Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, First Nation, Med-View and Overland.
Arik, which operated 10,261 flights, topped the chart of delayed and cancelled flights with 5,780 and 156 respectively.
Aero Contractors followed with 2,895 delayed flights and 231 cancellations out of its 4,714 flight operations, the department reported.
Air Peace operated 5,366 flights with 2,328 cases of delayed flights and 12 cancelled flights, the report added.
Meanwhile, the airlines attributed the delays and cancellations to the lingering scarcity of aviation fuel in the country.
A travel and tourism expert, Ikechi Uko, urged the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the issue.
Mr. Uko, who is the promoter of Akwaaba African Travel and Tour Market, said acute shortage of aviation fuel had disrupted the operations of most domestic airlines in recent weeks.
He said the development was not good for the industry.
“The fuel situation has led to flight cancellations and delays. When an airline has issue of schedule integrity, it affects the brand of the airline.
“So, now almost every Nigerian airline is having problem of brand integrity.
‘’ We are having frequent flight cancellations and delays and passengers are kept waiting unnecessarily. No airline enjoys treating passengers like that.
“The situation will only be helped when the fuel is available.
‘’If it is not available, most foreign airlines will load fuel from other countries but for Nigerian carriers, they do not have such an option,” Uko said.
NAN recalls that in July NCAA advised domestic airlines to scale down their flight operations because of the lingering scarcity of aviation fuel.
The Acting General Manager, Public Relations of the agency, Sam Adurogboye, said NCAA was concerned and would not want passengers to suffer unduly because of the scarcity.
Aviation fuel cost from N160 to N200 per litre.