Airlines sell N330bn tickets in 10 months

Airlines sell N330bn tickets in 10 monthsThe Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority said on Monday said foreign and domestic airlines operating in the country sold tickets worth over N330bn between January and October 2016.

The Director-General, NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman, said this at a meeting with stakeholders to review the past year and plan for the current year, adding that the airlines sold tickets worth over N385bn between January and December 2015.

According to him, 42,000 passenger on the average passed through the airports daily and 597 daily flights were recorded during the period under review. He, however, said that the data for the last quarter of 2016 was still being collated and authenticated.

Usman also revealed that despite the economic downturn, about 18 firms applied for Air Operators Certificates last year.

“There are several new applicants for Air Operators Certificate. The authority is already processing 18 applications, while nine are at the level of intent,” he said.

He added that the economic recession, paucity of foreign exchange, inability of foreign carriers to repatriate funds and scarcity of aviation fuel were some of the challenges that confronted the sector in 2016, but that beyond the problems, the country’s air transport industry retained its attractiveness with increase in the number of Bilateral Air Services Agreements.

He said there was an increase in BASA with other countries, from 88 to 90 by December 2016.

According to him, the new countries that Nigeria had BASA with in the course of the last year were Seychelles and Bahamas.

Usman said some countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Netherland, Turkey, Brazil, Qatar and Cote d’Ivoire had also requested for additional frequencies into Nigeria.

The NCAA boss also said that the agency would continue to prioritise training of its personnel and that this would remain a key project.

He added that all agency’s members of staff must be trained locally or abroad where applicable.

“The agency will accelerate the next generation of professionals and there will be industry replacement for ageing agency personnel,” he said.

He said NCAA’s four-point agenda were ensuring zero accident in aviation; increase in safety oversight; wider and more regular surveillance; and stringent enforcement and issuance of appropriate sanctions.

He said there were plans to involve all stakeholders in the agenda, ensure airlines’ compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations and that all outstanding debts would be paid as part of the programme for 2017.

“Passengers comfort is paramount in the plans of the authority; so, we plan to dissuade belligerent passengers on approaches to issues. There has been and will be sustained safety oversight and surveillance,” he added.

The DG also said the NCAA had approved the proposed closure of Abuja airport for the repair of the runway for safety reasons.

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