The Assistant General Secretary, Airlines Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Tukur, said the demise of some domestic airlines had brought untold hardship to the flying public as intending air travellers passed though hell to buy flight tickets.
Tukur, who was reacting to the recent hardship passengers faced during the Easter rush, said such situation would have been averted if a number of airlines had not closed shop.
He pointed out that some airlines took the government intervention funds for the aviation sector and subsequently stopped flying, thereby making the flying public to experience hardship before buying flight tickets.
The AON scribe said it was imperative for government to probe such airlines as failure to do so would amount to the misappropriation of tax payers money.
Government’s intention in giving the bailout, Tukur said, had been frustrated by the developments as several jobs had been lost due to the demise of some airlines.
He said, “Some airlines benefited from bail-out but they are not flying today. I mean, some airlines got bailout funds and closed shop. These are issues the government needs to look into because jobs have been lost.”
The recent crisis in Aero, Tukur alleged that some business interests were sponsoring various crises in the aviation sector, noting that government needed to also investigate the crises plaguing the airline sector.
“It is a very unfortunate situation at Aero. If you look at the way things are going, there are plans by some powerful interests to frustrate some airlines. Some people are benefiting from the crises in the sector.”
Internal labour crises had left Aero grounded for 18 days. The airline resumed operations on Saturday. The airline’s management was battling almost 1,300 employees over alleged poor condition of service among other related issues.
The development has worsened the domestic air travel, which is currently dominated by Arik Air and Aero, in terms of large route network.
Intending passengers to the South-South and South-East routes during the Easter rush could not get flight tickets easily.
Other domestic carriers such as Dana Air, IRS Airlines, Medview Airlines and Chanchagi Airlines operated only from Lagos to Abuja and a few cities in the North.
The development made airfares to go up.
According to aviation experts, the domestic travel scene needs at least two or three more airlines for effective competition and to guarantee flight tickets with better fares.