Chief Olusegun Obasanjo And Jimoh Ibrahim
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,Tuesday visited the Chairman of Air Nigeria, Chief Jimoh Ibrahim at Energy House, the airline’s headquarters in Lagos.
Although Ibrahim said the former President was unaware of the grounding of one of the nation’s major airlines, but unconfirmed sources close to the airline disclosed that the visit may not be unconnected with the grounding of the airline.
Ibrahim, who confirmed the visit to THISDAY in a telephone interview last night, said Obasanjo visited the Energy Group and toured the facilities, interacted with the workers in a town hall meeting and also observed the printing process of the National Mirror newspapers, which is part of the Group of Companies owned by him.
“He came to look at our Group, see how we are printing, interacted with the workers. He does not even know that Air Nigeria is not operating,” Ibrahim told THISDAY.
On when the airline would resume operation, the Air Nigeria Chairman said the decision would be taken by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
THISDAY also spoke with the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, who declined comment on when the airline would resume operation because he was in Abuja, meeting with the National Assembly.
He added that at the appropriate time he would comment on the issue.
On the high fares occasioned by the fact that some airlines like Air Nigeria and Dana Air were grounded and First Nation Airways had stopped operation as the management took its three aircraft for maintenance checks overseas, the Director General said the regulatory body would ensure that there was no monopoly in the industry and suggested that the high fares might be influenced by high cost of aviation fuel known as Jet A1.
Although there was low passenger movement for domestic destinations after the crash of Dana Air flight that killed 153 persons on board on June 3, but there is a noticeable passenger surge a month after the tragic crash.
But the passengers now have limited choice as there are only three major operators on scheduled commercial service, which include Arik Air, Aero and IRS airlines.
This explained why the fares have skyrocketed that average flight from the busiest route: Lagos to Abuja is average of N29,000 and may go up to N35,000 at peak hours.
Passengers now scramble for flights at Aero and Arik Air counters to secure boarding, especially during the morning hours.