Domestic airlines are said to be losing about N3 billion daily to the curfew in Lagos as they have been forced to reduce flights by over 70 per cent in Lagos.
The curfew is fast spreading to other states as the violence spreads.
All the eight domestic carriers including Air Peace, Arik Air, Overland, Max Air, Azman, Ibom Air, Dana and Aero Contractors originate their flights from Lagos.
The Lagos-Abuja flight which is the most lucrative flight for all the airlines have been on hold too, thereby deepening the financial straits of airlines which have barely recovered from the effect of the over three-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was learnt that all the domestic carriers operate over 100 flights in and out of Lagos on a daily basis which have been affected due to curfew in Lagos.
A spokesperson of Azman Air, Mr. Nura Aliyu said all the airline’s flights to Lagos including Lagos-Abuja described as the most lucrative route are affected.
He said, “It is worrisome presently because we are yet to recover from the suspension of flights due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Normally, our Lagos-Abuja flights which are about three every day are always fully booked. We also operate various routes like Gombe, Maiduguri, Kebbi from Lagos.”
Also speaking, Barr. Shehu Wadda of Max Air said many aircraft are on ground at the moment. Wada, an official of the Airline Operator of Nigeria (AON) representing the domestic carriers, said, “All airlines have reduced flights due to curfew. We are only operating to routes where there is no curfew so that we can pay salaries, maintain our aircraft, pay for insurance and other obligations.”
Also speaking, Director of Engineering with Ibom Air, Engr. Lookman Animashaun described the losses to airlines as “colossal,” saying, “It is unfortunate we are having this which is avoidable. Airlines have not even recovered from the COVID-19 lockdown and now we can only operate to where there is no curfew.”
He advised the protesters to be considerate, saying while their agitation is reasonable, continued protest would further deepen the people’s woes economically.