World Bank: Nigeria should have 25 domestic carriers

Nigeria – The World Bank has recommended that for more Nigerians to travel by air at affordable fares and for airlines to operate profitably, the average number of domestic carriers should be 25.

For these airlines to operate profitably, it is expected that the Federal Government should assist in reducing the charges and other taxes; check the high prices of aviation fuel and continue with modernisation of airport facilities.

This is part of World Bank’s report to the Federal Government after the audit of Nigerian airlines, which was made available to the press.

According to a source in the Ministry of Aviation, “This operational audit has shown that the aviation industry in Nigeria needs on average 25 domestic airline operators to serve the growing passenger numbers, which at 2010 stood at 14million serving the major airports: Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt.”

World Bank noted that the recommended number of airlines is in tandem with the population of the country, which would soon over strip 200 million and as at now less than 10 per cent of the citizens travel by air but with more airlines, more competition and government support, fares would crash to a rate that could be afforded by average Nigerian, which would triple the number of air travelers.

Ideally, with the growth of Nigeria’s economy, the working population and growing number of youths, it is expected that at least 40 percent of Nigerians should travel by air, especially as there is limited alternative transport system.

Besides roads, there is no other well developed means of transport, as the rail system is yet to emerge as dependable alternative and only those who live in riverine areas travel by sea, so with over 25 airports located largely at state capitals, it is expected that more people should travel by air if the air fares are relatively low.

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