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Domestic Airlines Record Decline in Patronage

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Aero contractors
  • Domestic Airlines Record Decline in Patronage

Despite the expected increase in flight operations in the first quarter due to the general elections, domestic airlines recorded a decline, MAUREEN IHUA-MADUENYI writes

Domestic flight operations in the first quarter of this year recorded a decline when compared with the preceding quarter as well as the same quarter in 2018, investigations have shown.

Figures obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority showed that the nine domestic airlines operating in the country, jointly operated 14, 735 flights from January to March, about 10.95 per cent lower than the 16,546 flights operated between October and December 2019.

Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Azman Air, Dana Air, Med-View Airline, Overland Airways, Air Peace and Max Air operated 5, 420 flights in January; 4, 289 in February and 5, 026 flights in March while in the last quarter of 2018, the airlines operated 5, 398 in October, 5, 408 in November and 5, 740 flights in December.

Against expectations that the general elections would be a busy period for airlines, the number of flights operated in the first quarter, when compared with the same period of 2018, only showed a marginal increase of 0.56 per cent from the 14, 653 flights recorded between January and March, 2018.

International airlines were also not left out in the decline as the 36 operators had a combined 3, 872 flights compared with the 4, 055 recorded in the last quarter of 2018 but higher than the 3, 757 flights operated in the first quarter of 2018.

Delayed flights for domestic airlines, however, showed improvement, dropping from 8, 825 in the first quarter of 2018 to 7, 926 in 2019, while cancelled flights also dropped from 208 to 181 in the first quarters of 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Although flight operations around January and February are known to be fewer than the months of November and December when people travel more, aviation analysts had predicted a rise in both flight operations and a number of passengers for domestic operators, riding on the back of the 2019 general elections.

But, the reverse was the case, which according to airline operators, was largely due to the postponement of the elections, which necessitated the cancellation of close to 150 domestic flights in March alone.

The Corporate Communications Manager, Air Peace, Mr Chris Iwarah, said the period between January and March was generally considered a lean period in global aviation but that the 2019 elections also had a huge impact on flight operations, albeit negatively.

He said, “Flights around that period come with disruptions before picking up again around March, especially from weather-related issues but the general elections had a huge impact when it was postponed.

“It affected flights negatively to a large extent, but of course, it was a sacrifice we all had to make; you must have leaders before talking about business.”

The Media and Communications Manager, Dana Air, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, explained that flight operations fluctuated throughout the first quarter.

According to him, people did not travel as much as was expected during the elections.

“At some point, it peaked, at some other time, it was really low. It fluctuated all through; it was not as if operations were at an all-time low during the period. As an election year, there were expectations of an increase in flight operations but nothing spectacular happened. That period, people were careful about their movement, so the insecurity also affected operations, but it was not completely bad,” he said.

It was also gathered that apart from the general elections, some airlines had taken a number of aircraft from their fleet for maintenance which reduced the number of flights they operated during the period.

“Capacity was low; so many aircraft were taken out of service for checks and maintenance,” Ezenwa stated.

The International Air Transport Association in its global passenger traffic results for the months of January, February and March had noted that there were continued concerns about Africa’s largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, contributing to the slowdown of air traffic in the first quarter.

Aviation Analyst, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, said the postponement of the elections disrupted not just flight operations but other businesses as well.

He said, “Generally after the festive period, it is the norm here that from January to February, the corporate world is expected to pick up gradually but unfortunately the elections came and necessitated restrictions in movement and activities.

“Coupled with the postponement, it made mincemeat of all economic activities; commercial travel was no exception. During that period, air fare became ridiculously low with numerous promos for people to fly. The last election was also tensed with heightened ethnicity issues on the ground. So it had businesses grounded so also were social activities. Once these concomitants abound, air travel suffers.”

Ohunayo also stated that apart from the disruptions occasioned by the general elections, in the first quarter of the year, there were rumours of an increase in fuel pump price, which created anxiety in the economy.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Appointments

Standard Bank Appoints Sanni Chief Executive for Africa

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The Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets has appointed Yinka Sanni as its new Chief Executive for Africa Regions and a member of the Group Leadership Council.

Sanni, the group’s Regional Chief Executive for West Africa, takes over from Sola David-Borha, who is retiring after 31 years of service to the banking group.

This was disclosed in a statement.

Sanni holds a B. Agric. (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA from Obafemi Awolowo University. He attended the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 2009, and the Global CEO Programme at the Wharton School in 2017. He has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector across wholesale, retail and asset management, and joined Standard Bank Group’s Nigerian subsidiary, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, in December 1990.

In a note to employees, Standard Bank Group CEO, Sim Tshabalala, congratulated Sanni on his appointment and thanked David-Borha for her extraordinary contributions to the group.

“Sola was appointed as the Chief Executive of Africa Regions in January 2017 and is one of the group’s most deeply expert and experienced bankers,” Tshabalala said.

“Under her leadership, the Africa Regions portfolio has grown remarkably in capacity, market share and contribution to the group’s headline earnings.”

David-Borha has been a passionate advocate of culture change and executive leadership development, having sponsored the ‘Last Mile’ programme, which has resulted in the successful promotion of talented people into both Regional Chief Executive and Country Chief Executive positions, including the appointment of two female Chief Executives in the Africa Regions business.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to serve and contribute to the growth of the Standard Bank Group,” David-Borha said.

“I am delighted to be handing over to Yinka Sanni, an exceptional, authentic and experienced leader who will take the baton forward in driving Africa’s growth.”

David-Borha will remain with the group until the end of June to ensure a successful leadership transition and handover process. Sanni’s appointment is effective from today, 15 April.

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Experts to Provide Insights on Tech & Digital Transformation at MSME Dialogue 3.0

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The third edition of MSME Dialogue will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 10am (WAT). Experts at the virtual event will provide insights while discussing the theme: Powering MSMEs with Technology and Digital Transformation.

The event, which is organized by MSME Africa, is expected to have owners and managers of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Business owners from different sector in attendance.

MSME Dialogue which holds every quarter, seeks to address, burning and relevant  issues about entrepreneurship and running a small business as well as proffering solutions to those issues.

The event aims to provide the right knowledge and know-how for MSMEs, Entrepreneurs, and Startups to enable them to grow and thrive and features subject matter experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, and players within the MSME Ecosystem.

The speakers expected at the event are: Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Interswitch Group, Rex Mafiana: CEO, FPG Technologies, Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Operational Excellence at Sokowatch, Kenya, David Lanre Messan, CEO, FirstFounders, Bisoye Coker, CEO/Co-founder, Kiakia FX. The session will be moderated by Solape Akinpelu: CEO/Founder, HerVest.

According to the convener of the event who is also the founder of MSME Africa, Seye Olurotimi “Every business owner who is serious with their business would agree with me that technology and digital transformation are important factors for business growth and success. We all can’t all run or won Tech startups but we can always drive our businesses and operations with Technology and Digital Tools”

“Tech-driven Businesses are making waves and turning in almost unbelievable results against all odds. Businesses who have embraced technology, automation and digital transformation are enjoying unquantifiable advantages. It is because of this that I am calling on business owners and managers to join us at the 3rd Edition of MSME Dialogue, on Saturday April 24, 2021 at 10am ( WAT), as we bring in experts to provide insights on this theme” Olurotimi added.

MSME Africa is a multi-faceted resource platform for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Africa providing capacity development, news, opportunities, business articles and other resources for MSMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups.

Olurotimi said the platform was poised to build the biggest network and community of MSMEs in Africa in the nearest future.

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Ericsson Launches Automation Hub in Nigeria

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Ericsson announces plans to create an Automation Hub in Nigeria to support operators for improved consumer experience.

Ericsson Automation Hub is an open innovation platform, inspired by lean startup methodology in which the Ericsson team works in close dialog with customers, users and partners to showcase and reach the high potential that network automation allows in configuration, provisioning, assurance and orchestration of network services.

This will enable service providers to gain the ability in their environments to govern, manage and orchestrate hybrid networks holistically and in real time and as a result, offer an enhanced consumer experience.

Fields to be covered include but not limited to 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, Network Slicing and Orchestration, Hologram Calls, Complex Standalone, Business Support System (BSS) and Operations Support System (OSS), Cloud and Core product cases, Automated Acceptance Tests demonstration and enhancements as well as complex charging scenarios for 5G and 4G networks.

Lucky La Riccia, Vice President and Head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa at Ericsson says: “As Industry 4.0 accelerates in Africa, automation in operations is proven to boost customer experiences. Ericsson continues to support the telecom industry players in setting #AfricaInMotion, and with the Ericsson Automation Hub in Nigeria, we will focus on driving business outcomes for our partners in Africa as they aim to leverage digital transformation to turn complexities into opportunities while offering a greater experience and value to consumers.”

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