• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Arik keeps business on despite domestic travel crisis

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Despite the crisis that has eaten deep into the operations and profits of domestic airlines in the country thereby crippling the system, Arik Air may have kept on with its operations as business continues to look up for the airline.

Even though there is the general problem of shrinking operational funds for the sector, Arik Air has continued to maintain its large business areas across the routes both domestic and regional.

Apart from making good use of the festive period to increase frequencies, many of the flight frequencies initiated during the major crisis of the airlines, especially, the one that grounded the entire fleet of Aero, second largest domestic airline which controls about 34.86 percent of airline business in the country, for two week, continued to be as the airline sees profit in having an ‘every hourly’ flight on the triangular route of Lagos-Abuja-Port-Harcourt.

“We are doing a lot of things right and that is why we are where we are. You know when the crisis was on, this is not to spite any company, we increased our flights to the ‘golden triangle’ to 8 flights daily and we called it ‘Abuja-Port-Harcourt shuttle’, we made sure that there was flight at every one to two hours especially between Lagos and Abuja.

“We put that in place to cope with demands of the travelling public on the golden triangle. Apart from the past crisis, the immediate past fell within the Easter period so the pressure was too much on us. We therefore increased flights to Uyo, Enugu, Calabar and Asaba to cater for the travellers,” a source close to the airline said.

Apart from the domestic routes, Arik Air also seized the opportunity on the regional scene to increase frequencies to Accra.

“You know the regional route is not as flexible as domestic but we increased our flights from two to three on Lagos-Accra but we have since reverted the services,” he said.

Analysts say “the sector crisis inflicted by unexplainable disagreements with unions and lack of operational funds naturally created a market for Arik which also used the occasion to bloat its revenue. That was a lot of money for the airline.

“Recall that the crisis that crippled Air Nigeria, which used to control 5.56 percent of the market started with the unions then to insolvency; that of Aero was mainly union problem. I believe that as much as the union problems would have been contained, that of funds was a major problem of the airlines,” an analyst said.

There is no gainsaying that domestic airlines are in dire straits and there should be an urgent intervention to salvage the situation from further plunging.

 

SADE WILLIAMS