Domestic airlines operating in Nigeria recorded 36,350 cases of delayed flights between January and December 2018, according to figures released by the Consumer Protection Department of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
A document issued by the department and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos showed that 59,818 flights were operated by nine airlines during the period under review.
The number of delayed fights represents 60.1 per cent of all flights, while a total of 544 flights were cancelled.
It said the airlines in operation were Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, First Nation, Med-View, Overland and Max Air.
The document said Air Peace, which operated 22,055 flights, topped the chart of delayed flights with 14,067 and 137 cancelled flights.
It indicated that Arik Air followed with 8,073 delayed flights and 152 cancellations out of its scheduled 15,205 flight operations.
According to document, Dana Air operated 5,944 flights with 3,915 cases of delayed flights and 67 cancellations.
Azman Air recorded 3,242 and 49 delayed and cancelled flights respectively, out of the 4,944 flights operated by the airline during the period under review.
Also, Aero Contractors operated 4,361 flights with 2,459 delayed and 70 cancellations; Overland, 601 flights with 1,960 delayed and 29 cancellations; and Medview, 2058 flights with 1,256 delayed and 42 cancellations.
It showed that Max Air recorded 1,151 delays and five cancellations, out of the 2,205 flights operated by the airline.
Similarly, FirstNation Airways, whose licence has been suspended by the NCAA, recorded 137 delayed flights and three cancellations, out of 445 flights operated within the period under review.
However, the delays,, according to the airlines, were due to operational reasons, bordering on scarcity of aviation fuel as well as adverse weather conditions leading to low visibility at most of the airports.
Mr Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, said one of the major ways to reduce flight delays was the construction of modern terminals or remodelling of old ones to ease passenger facilitation.
Adurogboye said: ‘’Some of these problems are infrastructural related. The government is remodelling most of the airports and this will ease passenger facilitation.
“By the time these modern facilities are deployed, it will curb unnecessary delays.
“However, issues like adverse weather or a machine (aircraft) developing a problem cannot be ruled out, and you can’t expect them to fly with a machine that had developed problem. Those ones happen occasionally.
“So, we hope that very shortly, these delays will be reduced drastically, and we are working toward that.”