Aviation

June 3, 2024

Nairobi-Lagos route: Fresh fears over Single African Air Transport Market

air traffic

By Dickson Omobola

The move by Kenya Air ways to increase its frequency from Nairobi to Lagos from seven to 10 has ignited fresh concerns among stakeholders over Nigeria’s failure to take advantage of the Single African Air Transport Market, SAATM.

SAATM, a project of the African Union, was aimed at creating a single market for air transport in Africa just as it connects the continent, promotes its social, economic and political integration and boosts intra-Africa trade and tourism.

Given that Nigeria is the second largest market in Africa behind South Africa, industry experts wondered why domestic carriers were not supported to maximise such a multilateral agreement in order to increase the country’s finances.

In separate chats, they lamented that no Nigerian airline operates to Nairobi, saying the West Africa country was lagging behind its East Africa counterpart.

Monopoly

Speaking to Vanguard, General Secretary of the Aviation Roundtable and Safety Initiative, ART, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, decried the imbalance, stressing that there were indigenous carriers that could operate to the route if supported.

Ohunayo said: “Kenya Airways is an African airline and the rule of SAATM makes increasing frequencies available even beyond the Bilateral Air Service Agreements, BASA. At the moment, Kenya Airways has a monopoly on the Lagos-Nairobi route.

”In most cases, most of the passengers are not even going to Nairobi, they are going to points beyond Nairobi such as London, Dubai and other cities. Can you imagine that our own airline goes there once a week? That is Air Peace.”

Penchant for travel

“They will increase frequency because Nigerians have the penchant for travel. When more people demand for flights, frequency will be increased, particularly during summer. It will go down again around September or October and increase during the Christmas period.

“Nigerian airlines don’t operate there. We need to begin to look at how we can build more airlines beyond Air Peace. From the look of things, Air Peace doesn’t have the capacity to take all we have to offer on our BASA.”