Nigerian aviation requires $5 billion to upgrade the efficiency of its airport infrastructures, a necessary investment for its citizens who struggle to find safe modes of transportation.
Nigerians were already avoiding travelling by car due to terrible traffic jams that can make a five-minute trip take hours, and with the continuous activities of kidnapping and terrorism, Nigerians are stranded with no available modes of practical and safe transportation.
According to the Guardian, The Chief Operating Officer of one Nigerian airline has said:
“Following its exit, those are routes that are now further devoid of flight options. There will be scarcity and disruptions. Those routes that have alternate airlines will push up prices seeing a spike in demand. Think of those people who depend on flight to get in and out of those places to avoid being killed or kidnapped on the road or rail.”
Is safe travel a luxury?
The rest of the world has made strides to resume travelling back to normal with the expansion of flights and lifting of covid restrictions, Nigerian aviation is yet to join them due to its severe resource and financial difficulties. Recently, domestic airlines have reduced from 10 to eight due to challenges of capacity and fuel. As a result, the remaining domestic airlines have raised their ticket prices in response to rising aviation fuel costs.
However, most Nigerians are unable to keep up with these price hikes, making safe travel unaffordable and a privilege for the wealthy.
Nigerian aviation has faced concerns about its 24-hour operations since robberies and kidnappings have invaded nighttime flights and travel.
The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu said:
“The risks are enormous and seriously impacting on airports’ operations, airport workers, and airline passengers/crew even in the daytime. Due to the downturn in the country’s economy, available data shows that the levels of passenger and traffic activities are not financially viable or self-sustaining to operate a majority of the airports beyond sunset.”
The decline in African Tourism?
International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that Nigeria was “withholding money of around $450 million generated by foreign airlines operating in the country.”
As a result, airlines including Dubai-based Emirats have decided to scale back their flying operations in Nigeria; as of August 15, 2022, there will be three fewer flights per week to Lagos, Nigeria.
This move poses a serious threat to the development of African tourism after COVID-19 because it will have an adverse effect on Nigeria’s and Africa’s connectivity, both of which are necessary for opportunities and partnerships on the global stage.
Is this the wake-up call for Nigeria to develop its aviation sector? Or is this economic meltdown just the beginning?