The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Monday witnessed low traffic of passengers and flight operations on the eve of New Year celebration, our correspondent reports.
When our correspondent visited the airport, few passengers were seen processing their flights to various destinations while many airline counters were very scanty.
Abdullahi Saroke, Station Manager, Max Air Limited, said it was usual for the traffic to be low on New Year eve, saying that majority of passengers that traveled during Christmas were yet to start returning.
Saroke said that traffic was expected to peak from Jan. 2, 2019 when many passengers would begin to return and businesses expected to commence.
“As usual we experience rush during the Christmas period which is before, but after there is usually low activities until after new year as we have today.
“We are not expecting much of inbound and outbound for now because a lot of people have traveled for Christmas and we are not expecting much to travel for New Year.
“It is only after new year that people will start coming back that we expect traffic rebound in Abuja,” he said.
On the cost of fare, Saroke said there was no much hike compared to what it used to be, adding that the coming of Max Air into the domestic operation helped to bring down the prices of ticket.
According to him, what we used to have is few airlines operating but with high fare but the entrance of Max Air has really brought the price down that is why we don’t have reasonable hike in air fare this year.
“There has been sharp departure from the past in terms of domestic operation because we now have more flights out of Abuja with Max operating almost 20 flights per day.
“This has helped to stabilise the industry recently compared to what we use to have.
“A part from Max, Air Peace too has increased its frequency out of Abuja over 20 flights daily especially to Lagos.
Saroke said that 2018 was the safest in Nigerian aviation industry, saying it was accident free apart from some minor incidences.
He said the safety record would help to boost passengers’ confidence in the domestic airlines.
According to him, airlines are expecting that 2019 will be a good year for the industry because the beginning is going to be a pumper harvest because of the general elections.
Mr William Komakech, a public servant and a passenger, said the new year eve was the best time to travel, adding that passengers would not have to rush for ticket and boarding.
He said there was a significant improvement in the nation’s airports especially Abuja because of improved infrastructure.
“I expect better services in 2019 much better than 2018 because towards Christmas I noticed that the number of passengers from Abuja, Lagos and Enugu got increased and was difficult to actually get ticket.
“There is significant improvement in the airport particularly the space is quite big now and it is a good development.
“I just hope and pray that during the general elections in 2019, things should just work smoothly as it is now,” he said.
Kelvin Bassey, traveling to Niger Republic through Sokoto said he paid N24,000 from Abuja to Sokoto and N40,000 from Uyo to Abuja, adding that there were no significant increase compared to what he usually pay.
Bassey said that more should be done to improve Nigerian airports, saying that only Abuja and Lagos airports could be considered good in the country.
According to him, we should develop more of the airports because airlines are doing good job because you can book online, check in.