How Nigerian Airlines Can Attract Passengers


Nigerian airlines are in a fierce competition amidst dwindling passenger traffic and skyrocketing air fares. But stakeholders say their efforts at attracting more air travellers remain too little and even ineffective.

At various times this year, Nigerian airlines embarked on promotional activities meant to bring back the fleeing passengers. But air travellers seem unconvinced as many of them continue to hit the roads and snub airlines whose prices continue to hit the roof and their services remain poor.

Throughout the month of April, Dana Air slashed its fares to N12,100 on its Lagos – Abuja – Lagos route. Aero Contractors quickly followed suit this month and has now crashed its fares to N9,999 for the remaining two weeks  in the month of May when the booking is made online. Arik Air is also pursuing a robust online booking and is offering passengers cheaper fares on the internet.

A passenger with a return ticket on Arik Air ends up getting a 30 percent discount on the return leg of the trip while the airline has continued to claim that its in-flight service is excellent with the most comfortable legroom in the industry. Arik also boasts of the youngest fleet in the industry with an average aircraft of five years old.

Dana Air recently launched check-in services with its ‘Roving Agent’, a mobile device which allows guests to be checked-in on arrival at the airport by mobile airline staff.

Strapped with tablet PCs and mini printers, the airline’s mobile check-in agents can now issue boarding passes to guests even before they reach the check-in counter. This new initiative complements the airline’s existing check-in counters and online check-in service.

Besides, Dana claims that its unique selling point is the customer service – from the point of contact up till boarding and arrival at destination. The airline says it always ensures that passengers are well treated while safety is given priority.

Aero Contractors says it has the highest aircraft utilisation in the domestic market than any Nigerian airline as well as more passengers per flight than any other carrier in the country.

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Besides, Aero says it gives customers more opportunities to book, pay, check in online than any domestic carrier in Nigeria.

Aero claims its online dominance gives customers more options and choices and enough time to focus on more pressing issues. Aero’s options include the SMS, smart phones and Internet.

The key ingredient of Aero is its online products which are second to none in the sub region, the airline often boasts.

Overland airline claims it goes to hinterland where Dana, Arik, Aero or Med-view airlines do not go. But despite all these offers and services, passengers have remained unmoved partly because air fares have remained too high in Nigeria with promotional fares lasting only a few days or weeks.

Their offers have remained cosmetic while the real issues have remained unattended to.

We expect Nigerian airlines to offer passengers affordable fares  and better services. Daily, passengers are delayed for hours at airports and sometimes, their luggage are stolen.

The issues of affordable fares, compensation in case of flight delays and cancellations should be addressed if Nigerian airlines want more Nigerians to patronise them.

We believe that the N60,000 air fare from Lagos to Abuja and back remains beyond many Nigerians who rather choose to travel by road and pay about N10,000 only for the same journey.

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