These are not the best of times for local Airlines in the country as the current restrictions on both local and foreign commercial flight services has forced domestic carriers into financial distress following cumulative losses of over N360 billion.
The sum, spread across eight airlines, is the running cost of operation, which include aircraft leasing, routine maintenance, debt servicing, staff salaries and allowances, parking and maintenance fees, and recurrent training, amid nil revenue.
Recall that the Federal Government about three weeks ago restricted commercial air services and shut down the airports in efforts to contain the Coronavirus spread.
According to News reports, a total of 120 aircraft have since been grounded nationwide. Two airlines paid employees half salary and allowances for the Month of March, while uncertainty clouds April disbursement across the board.
But the airlines are not alone in the dire effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost all 6,000 travel agencies nationwide have laid off staffers over the collapse of businesses.
Top officials said the airlines’ management could do very little to salvage investments and save the airlines from collapse without major help from the Federal Government.
The Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Capt. Nogie Meggison, said it was instructive to note that about four weeks before domestic airlines suspend operations, passenger traffic had declined to about nine per cent leaving the airlines in dire financial strait while raking avoidable cost.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN NEWS