The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Monday said domestic flight operations declined by 67 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period last year.
This was contained in a document issued by the NCAA’s Consumer Protection Department, in Lagos.
The document said a total number of 10,366 flights were operated in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the 15,434 flights operated by the same eight domestic airlines from January to March 2016.
It said the airlines in operation were Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, First Nation, Med-View and Overland.
According to the document, out of the 10,366 flights operated in the first quarter, 6,789 flights were delayed while 318 flights were cancelled.
Air Peace , which operated 3,262 flights, topped the chart of delayed flights with 2,036.
This was followed by Arik Air which recorded 1,059 delayed flights and 246 cancellations, out of its 1,665 flight operations.
Dana Air operated 1,525 flights with 1,017 incidences of delayed flights and five cancellations.
Meanwhile, the domestic airlines said high cost of aviation fuel, inadequate navigational aids and multiple charges by the various aviation agencies were some of the challenges militating against their operations.
The President of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Capt. Noggie Meggisson, said there was need to create a conducive environment for domestic airlines to thrive.
Meggisson said while airlines in other West African countries operate 24 hours, Nigerian carriers are subjected to daylight operations only till 6:30pm in most airports in the country.
On his part, the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, decried the issue of multiple charges imposed on the airlines , adding that it had put many of them out of business.
“If these taxes are not reduced, more airlines will crumble. No airline can survive this regime of taxes. Currently, we pay about 37 charges.
“The taxes have been here before this government and that is why we are appealing to them to streamline the charges as a form of support to the airlines,” Onyema said.