Nigerians, notably public office holders and businessmen spent about N29.7bn on chartered flights in 2011, investigation by our correspondent has revealed.
Statistics obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, showed that the nation’s airports handled an average of 50 chartered flights per day in 2011.
The Director-General, NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, in a paper presented two weeks ago, confirmed that the nation’s airports handled 50 chartered flights daily last year.
Some chartered flight operators, who spoke to our correspondent in Lagos on Thursday, said politicians, state governors and other clients paid an average of $7,000 per hour for each flight.
Chartered airline operators at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, said each of the chartered flights took an average of one and a half hours; hence, the operators generated about $10,500 in revenue from each flight.
From the foregoing, it means the eminent Nigerians who patronised the services of the operators must have spent about $525,000 (N81.38m) on chartered flights each day last year at $10,500 multiplied by 50 flights.
Consequently, the Very Important Persons must have spent about $191.625m (N29.7bn) on chartered flights in 2011 at $525,000 multiplied by 365 days.
According to industry analysts, chartered airline operators are currently engaged in an intense competition over the VIP market in the country, which they said had been rated as one of the fastest growing in the world.
Different VIPs from the corporate world and government circles usually throng airport terminals daily to patronise the services of the chartered airline operators.
Nigeria’s aviation market is regarded as one of the most robust in the world, bringing huge revenue and profit to foreign airlines.
Passengers who used Nigerian airports in 2011 spent a total of $1.5bn (about N225bn) on the purchase of tickets, the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, had recently said.
Oduah, in a keynote address she delivered at an interactive forum with aviation stakeholders in Abuja a fortnight ago, also said that 90 per cent of the total revenue from the airports came from the Lagos and Abuja airports.
The minister said 14.6 million passengers used the airports scattered across the country within the year, while 122,700 tonnes of cargoes were moved by air within the one-year period.
According to the minister, the nation’s airports handled 50 chartered flights and 300 scheduled flights per day during the period under review.
The aviation sector, she said, employed a total of 60,000 workers in 2011, including 1,835 cabin crew, 934 pilots, 325 air traffic controllers, 865 aircraft maintenance engineers and 250 meteorology personnel.
She said, “Aviation is pivotal to the growth of key economic sectors, such as travel and tourism, agriculture production and distribution, rural development, trade and commerce, manufacturing and other non-oil sectors, which are critical to economic transformation of any nation.
“The value chain of creation by aviation is enormous. In order to reposition the Nigerian aviation sector for this role, we consulted widely with industry stakeholders and relevant ministries, departments and agencies to develop a common mission and vision.”
Source : The Punch