By Gabriel Agbeja/Abuja
Two Nigerian airlines operating at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, are groaning over low passenger traffic since flights resumed after the COVID-19 lockdown.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja, Azman and Max airlines said the turn out of passengers compared with previous years has drastically reduced, due to the impact of the Coronavirus.
Max Air Station Manager Kehinde Ogunyale stated that the airline was only doing about 25 per cent of its usual business before the pandemic.
“It is glaring that things have never remained the same as it used to be. We are just doing about 25 per cent of our usual business in the past years before the pandemic.
“Traffic was slightly better during festive season of Eid-el-Kabir. But, as of now, we are still experiencing low traffic flow because of the Coronavirus pandemic,’’ he said.
Also, Azman Air Duty Manager, Mrs Sandra Oge, said that turnout of travellers at present was very low after the lockdown was lifted.
According to her, travellers are still afraid of the pandemic.
“I think people are still skeptical to come out. But prior to the Salah holidays, we noticed increase of outbound passengers, especially to the Northern routes which we quite applaud.
“After the Salah break, the percentage of outbound travellers came back to normal. This is not encouraging for now.
“The situation now is that we only experience inbound passengers from return routes we operate from. These stations are Maiduguri, Kano, Oweri, Kebbi and Lagos.
But out of Abuja for now, passengers’ figure is very low,’’ she said.
Max Air station manager Ogunyale, however, commended the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and other germane stakeholders to have come up with protocols for the period.
According to him, it is necessary to use face masks, hand sanitisers and observe social distancing among others to ensure that all protocols are kept.
“Our advice to the passengers is to keep to the required protocol to keep themselves safe. Whatever support we need to give from here, we will do it.
“We also want the passengers to help us by giving us required support and encouragement by staying on queues and coming early to the airport. We are sure that we will all be safe,’’ he said.
According to him, Max Air currently operates flight from Abuja to Lagos, Maiduguri, Kano, Yola, Sokoto and Bauchi.