With the myriads of challenges bedevilling Nigeria’s aviation sector especially incidents of frequent delays and flight cancellations, carriers in the subsector are beginning to leverage on codeshare/interline to provide value for passengers and also ensure profitability for the airlines.
Already two airlines, Dana Air and startup carrier, Ibom Air have both penned an agreement to codeshare/interline their operations to give air travellers in the sector better service delivery.
According to a report by thenationonlineng.net, inconveniences associated with delayed and cancelled flights due to operational reasons will soon be a thing of the past as industry regulator Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is working out a framework to achieve interline and code share agreement among domestic carriers.
The framework, which has reached advanced stage, will see some carriers achieve technical and operational cooperation this month.
According to experts familiar with the development, the cooperation will end incessant delays and flight cancellations by indigenous carriers wrapped under ‘operational reasons’.
The cooperation, which will manifest in the form of code share and interline agreement among the carriers, is coming after two decades of preparation.
When the new regime takes effect, passengers with one ticket booking could travel on any of the partnering carriers to a single or multiple destinations.
Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ibom Air, Mr. George Uriesi, while describing the industry as very competitive because of proliferation of airlines in a small pool of market, said carriers were recording many empty seats when the aircraft doors are closed.
He said: “‘We are on the last phase of the interline project. The challenge of it is to have partners who are organised and who meet the standards of your company.
“Your work force has to work together, sit together to look at the schedule, and integrate it into your reservation system.”
In an interview, NCAA Director-General Captain Musa Nuhu said the idea of interline for indigenous carriers was long overdue as it would assist airlines to maximise profit and make air travel enjoyable for passengers by eliminating flight delays and cancellations.
He said: “We are happy about this as a regulatory body. Airlines are supposed to manage their schedules properly.
“These agreements are business decisions by airlines which have benefits for them and passengers. We must all pull our resources and energy together to bring this to fruition.”
Also, President of industry thinktank group, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Dr. Gbenga Olowo, said there could be no better time to achieve cooperation among indigenous carriers.
He said, over the years, poor schedule integrity has eroded the good performance of carriers following passengers complaints of poor services.