Worried by safety of local Nigerian airlines, some of the wealthy
businessmen in the country are taking the unusual step of flying the 300
miles from Lagos to Abuja via London.
That’s nearly 6,000 flight miles and 12 hours on board a plane,
not to mention time spent in London’s airports, to avoid a 300-mile one
hour domestic flight, reports Platts newswire.
In June, a
domestic Nigerian flight operated by Dana Air crashed, killing 153
people on board and highlighting safety concerns in Nigeria’s
rapidly-expanding domestic airline business.
Lagos-London-Abuja marathon is, of course, a rarity. Most travelers in
Nigeria concerned with flying will either not travel or find other
land-based modes of transit. Despite the small uptick in demand for
Europe-Africa flights, the overall impact on jet demand has been
These concerns over air safety come at a time when
civil unrest in Nigeria has been high, with many attacks on high-profile
targets. This, too, has taken its toll on demand for flights, both
domestically and internationally.
This lack of demand has seen
cargoes of jet fuel, which are imparted to West Africa to meet local
demand, start to amass in floating storage. Inventories are typically
held at sea with about 200,000mt on the water at a given time. But the
current state of demand, weakened by flying fears, has seen the amount
of fuel offshore more than double, traders estimate.
International Air Transportation Association and the International Civil
Aviation Organisation both have pledged support to Nigerian airlines to
help them improve their safety records. Until that happens and
confidence in local air travel returns, demand is expected to be low,
and at least some travellers will be stacking up the frequent flyer