Monday, 10 July 2023 04:56

Over half of domestic flights in Nigeria delayed in Q1 2023. These are the airlines most culpable

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Over half of the domestic flights in Nigeria between January and March were delayed, an official report states, confirming the complaints of travellers about incessant flight delays in the country’s airports.

Of the total 18,288 domestic flights within the period, 10,128 were delayed (55 per cent), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) stated in a report tagged “Executive Summary on International and Domestic Flight Operations.”

Many Nigerians have lamented the incessant delay in domestic flights by operators across the country’s airports. Many have taken to social media to narrate their experiences with some flights delayed for over 24 hours.

In its report, the NCAA said the 11 domestic airlines operating in the country also had 284 flight cancellations within the period.

The report also stated that 2,791,591 passengers passed through the nation’s domestic airports in the first quarter of 2023. It indicates that, of the 2,791,591 passengers, 1,391,560 were inbound and 1,400,031 outbound.

Also, the summary indicates passenger traffic of 870,776 on international airlines operations in the first quarter of the year.

The breakdown shows that while inbound passenger traffic of 375,700 was recorded, outbound traffic was 495,076 on the international routes.

In the first quarter, 25 foreign airlines operated 3,073 flights on international routes, while 11 domestic airlines operated 18,288 flights on domestic routes.

Also, 1,193 complaints were received from passengers by the NCAA, on delayed flights on international routes, with 24 complaints of cancellations and six of air returns.

On domestic flights, 10,128 flights were delayed within the first three months, with 284 cancelled and 28 cases of air returns.

The report indicates that 499 flights were delayed on foreign flights in January, with Air Peace topping the list with 53, followed by Asky with 45, Qatar Airways with 41 and British Airways with 33, amongst others.

In February, delayed flights were 325, with AWA recording 30, Ethiopian Airlines 33, Kenya Airways 11; while in March, 369 flights were delayed, with Qatar Airways recording 32, United Airlines had 1 and Air Peace recorded 64.

There were seven cancelled flights in January, 13 in February and four in March.

Delayed flights

Larry Madowo was looking forward to travelling to Port Harcourt from Lagos when he got a notification from Air Peace Airlines that his flight will be “delayed for operational reasons.” Scheduled for 3 p.m. on 23 October 2022, the one-hour flight was delayed for five hours.

“I sat at the Lagos airport for nearly 5 hours,” said Madowo, CNN’s International Correspondent. “Every Air Peace flight to a domestic destination was delayed due to operational reasons that day,” he wrote on Twitter.

The airline replied to Madowo saying “We do not deliberately delay flights. In fact, it causes a huge strain on our operations but sometimes, such delays are sadly inevitable due to unforeseen circumstances or factors we cannot control.”

“This is not the experience we promise our customers. This was a one-off and we’re unhappy it happened,” the airline added.

Madowo and several travellers have had their sheer horrible experiences with incessant flight delays in Nigerian airports.

Airlines with the highest percentage of delayed flights

At 84 per cent, Overland Airlines was the most notorious for delaying flights, according to the NCAA. Azman Airlines and United Airlines trailed Overland, delaying 73 per cent of their flights respectively.

Dana Air was behind by 67 per cent while Max Air had 65 per cent of delayed flights.

Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest domestic carrier followed, delaying 58 per cent of its flights; Arik Air 57 per cent; and Aero Contractors 56 per cent.

Ibom Air and Green Africa each had 35 per cent of delayed flights during the period under review.

Value Jet recorded the least percentage of delayed flights at 22 per cent.

As flying remains less than dependable, some passengers say it is important to add some buffer time into your travel schedule to accommodate delays and cancellations.

Rabi Mohammed normally avoids Max Airlines (they made her miss a job opportunity four years ago), but the carrier was scheduled for her by an agent, a perfectly timed option for her Sunday trip from Kano to Lagos. So she gave them another chance in May 2022.

Unfortunately, the 90-minute flight was delayed for well over nine hours, she said.

Airlines with the highest number of delayed flights

In terms of volume, Air Peace delayed 3,754 flights, the highest number of delayed flights in the first three months of the year. The airline also operated 6,521 flights during the period under review, the highest number by domestic airliner.

NCAA data shows that Max Airline operated 1,565 flights out of which 1013 flights were delayed, making it the second domestic airline with the highest number of delayed flights in the first quarter of the year.

Arik Airlines followed with 926 delayed flights out of 1,619 flights it operated while United Airlines delayed at least 910 flights out of its 1,243.

Of the 2,312 flights it operated between January and March, State-owned Ibom Air delayed 746 flights. Aero Contractors delayed 624 flights out of a total of 1,123.

Meanwhile, Overland Airline delayed 605 flights out of 719; Dana Air had 474 delayed flights out of 711 while Green Africa delayed 443 out of its total 1,182.

Azman Airline operated 527 flights and delayed 385 during the first quarter of the year. Value Jet had a total of 766 flights. It delayed 248 of that number.

The NCAA report also stated that 2,791,591 passengers passed through the nation’s domestic airports in the first quarter of 2023, data shows.

It indicates that, of the 2,791,591 passengers, 1,391,560 were inbound and 1,400,031 outbound.

The NCAA’s latest data shows that schedule changes and marathon delays are wreaking havoc on passengers’ plans and stress levels, and yet they show no signs of stopping.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015 which is being amended guarantees that passengers get full refunds when their flights are delayed or cancelled.

“Every passenger shall, before purchasing any ticket for a contract of carriage by the air carrier or its agents, be entitled to the full, fair, and clear disclosure of all the terms and conditions of the carriage about to be purchased.

“The disclosure shall include, among others, documents required to be presented at check-in, provisions on check-in deadlines, refund and rebooking policies, and procedures and responsibility for delayed and/or cancelled flights,” the regulations said.

 

PT

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