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Weak Naira grounds 30% aircraft — Operator

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By Abiodun OBA

 

About 30 percent of aircraft in Nigeria have been grounded in the last two months with almost 50 percent to go out of service in the next month if adequate measures are not taken.

The United Nigeria Airline Chief Executive Officer, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, regretted while speaking with journalists at the Opening of the 2024 Annual Retreat of United Nigeria Airlines, which also marked the third anniversary of the airline.

He identified the crash of the Naira and the consequent high cost of air tickets, along with the increased expense of maintaining aircraft as factors responsible for the ugly situation.

Okonkwo lamented that aircraft parts prices are skyrocketing, and the number of passengers is diminishing, adding that airline operators depend primarily on the large sales of tickets to fuel the aircraft and pay service providers.

He expressed concern that the fluctuating Naira value affects ticket prices, potentially making them unaffordable for the majority of Nigerians.

Addressing the airline staff, Professor Okonkwo acknowledged the industry’s tremendous challenges, noting that the aviation sector reflects the difficulties faced by other sectors in Nigeria. Despite these challenges, he highlighted the growth of United Nigeria Airline.

Regarding technology deployment, the United Nigeria CEO asserted that Nigerian airline operators are up-to-date with aviation technology.

Several operators, including United Nigeria Airline, are International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Service Audit (IOSA) certified, demonstrating compliance with global technology standards.

He urged the Nigerian government to recognize aviation as a critical sector and invest in it, similar to investments in other sectors like land transportation, agriculture, and oil and gas.

© 2024, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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