Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Flying in Nigeria has different meanings to various people. To most, it is a coalescence of unfair delays, unexplained cancellations and lost luggage. Nevertheless, air travel in Nigeria is still by far the safest form of city-to-city transport due to the notoriously inadequate substitute modes of transport in the country.
Using data collected from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Airline customers, reputable media houses and other credible sources, a comprehensive study was carried out by flight delay compensation company – Africlaim, to reveal the best and worst performing major Nigerian airlines of 2018. The airlines’ performance are judged based on: Fleet Age, Customer rating, On-time Performance (Delays and Cancellation) and Safety Record.
THE BEST 3 AIRLINES 2018
In 2018, The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) recognised Air peace as the most efficient airline in Nigeria and awarded it and its six crew members the ‘National Carrier of Repute’ and ‘Nigerian Crew of Repute’ award respectively. The airline celebrated a major achievement by setting the record as the first Nigerian carrier to acquire a Boeing 777 aircraft for its long-haul operations. This development will position Nigeria back on the global aviation scene with the launch of its Houston, London, Guangzhou-China, Dubai, Sharjah, Mumbai and Johannesburg services.
Air Peace, with a fleet strength of 20 aircraft averages 19 years.
The President of NIPR, Dr. Rotimi Oladele, affirmed the carrier’s on-time performance, customer service, safety and fleet maintenance reputations were unparalleled in the national industry.
In Q1 2018, Air Peace operated 5,066 flights, topped the chart of delayed flights with 2, 901 and 59 cancelled flights in the first quarter of 2018.
Air peace suffered a major incident which didn’t fail to trend across all social media platforms especially. This occurred when an Enugu-bound flight lost cabin pressure mid-air, necessitating the release of oxygen masks for passengers. Although no lives were lost, the airline suffered a fair amount of reputation damage during the period.
Arik air is arguably one of the leading airlines in the country. In 2017, the airline was taken over by The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in an attempt to stabilise the operations of the airlines and subsequently put them in a position to generate positive cash flow in order to resolve their debt situation.
After a random check was carried out on the fleet of Nigerian airlines, Arik Air was shown to have the youngest fleet of 23 aircraft, with an average age of 11 years.
In terms of customer rating, Arik air scored 4/10 in 2018 according to Skytrax airline ratings. The airline scored below average in: Food &Beverage, Inflight Entertainment, Seat Comfort, Staff Service and Value for Money.
In Q1 2018, Arik air operated 3,972 flights with 2,322 delayed flights and 56 cancellations.
Arik air experienced two major incidents in 2018. The first unusual incident involved the data leak of millions of customers. Details such as device fingerprints, names, email addresses, last four digits of credit cards, and IP addresses were leaked in the incident. The second incident involved an aborted take-off due to an observed ‘Abnormality In The Cockpit’ by the Pilot-in-Command (PIC).
Since getting its license restored, Dana Air has struggled to retain its credibility following the crash of its McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (flight 992) in 2012 which led to 153 fatalities and the loss of its operating licence. However, in 2018, Dana Air won the award for Africa’s Best Airline of the year in the domestic operations category at the Development in Africa Merits Awards.
Dana Air (or should we say “Sky Grand-Daddy”) notoriously has the oldest fleet of a range of McDonnell Douglas MD-80s in Nigeria. One of its aircraft, which is still in use today, is a shocking 28+ years old!
The airline, which has flown for over 10 years now is a 3-time winner of the airline of the year award at the Nigerian Aviation Awards. Dana Air boasts of an unrivalled on-time performance, world-class in-flight service and customer-centric products and services.
In Q1 2018, Dana Air operated 1,726 flights with 1,043 cases of flight delay and one cancellation.
Dana Air experienced 2 major incidents in 2018. The first occurring when a Dana Aircraft overshot the runway at the Port Harcourt Airport, after it touched down. The second occurring a few weeks later when the door of an aircraft belonging to the airline fell off upon landing at the Abuja airport. No casualties or injuries were recorded in both.
THE WORST 3 AIRLINES 2018
Azman Air is a relatively new airline in the industry and is full of promise – depending on how well its owners avoid the Nigerian disease of mismanagement. Despite being a new-comer into the industry, the airline is known to adhere to globally accredited safety standards and constantly review their products and services in order to improve customer satisfaction.
Although the airline has barely clocked 5 years since the launch of its operations, its average fleet age is about 4 times of its operational age (20.9 years)
The airline is known for its world class aviation services, good customer relationship, as well as operational competence.
In Q1 2018, Azman Air operated 1,140 flights with 792 delayed and 23 cancelled flights.
Although Azman Air operations have been relatively drama-free since its launch, the airline suffered two notable incidents in 2018. The incident occurred when one of its airplanes nearly ran out of fuel mid-air. A source, who was on board the Flight ZQ 2332 said “the aircraft departed Kano at 1:20pm and was expected to land at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at 2:05pm. When the pilot contacted the control tower for clearance for landing, he was told that he could not land because of some military planes on special operation were at the airport”. The pilot was apparently in a dilemma and thought about returning to Kano after spending over an hour hovering in the air and having already announced that he was running out of fuel. Some passengers rejected the decision and prevailed on him to land, saying that they would be down with the consequences of violating the directive of the control tower. Another incident occurred on a Port Harcourt-bound Azman Air flight from Lagos when the aircraft had to make an emergency landing due to an engine failure.
It’s a good thing Med-view airlines has been banned from operating within the airspace of the European Union. The airline fails to deliver in every area from safety standards to customer care. The airline is notorious for ignoring rightful claims for flight delay compensation without the slightest bit of remorse.
Med-view has 5 planes – all Boeing models, with an average age of 20.9 years.
It’s surprising the airline is still in operation despite its complete disregard for customers. Customer satisfaction levels are well below average. However, Med-view offers unbelievable relatively low ticket prices which appeals to some of its customer, but this is not enough to justify its poor service.
In Q1 2018, Med-view operated 894 flights with 632 delayed flights and 15 cancellations.
If an airline has such a poor attitude towards its customers, you can be rest assured that attitude will be maintained towards its safety, aircraft maintenance and compliance. In 2018, the airline had an incident on flight VL2108 from Abuja to Maiduguri when the aircraft had to return to the ramp due to a safety issue.
Overland Airways is one of the few airlines in Nigeria to fully exploit the use of secondary airports. The airline uses the ATR mainly, which is small body aircraft for short distance travel. The airline was applauded in 2018 for extending its flight operations to other parts of West Africa.
The airline has an average fleet age of 25.7 years
In Q1 2018, Overland Airways recorded 614 flights with 484 delayed and 12 cancelled.
Although the operations of the airline remains relatively quiet, it made headlines when one of its ATR aircraft caught fire at the company’s hangar located at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. Although, nobody was on board at the time of the incident, an incident of that magnitude is bound to cause problems for a relatively quiet airline such as Overland Airways.
So was the year 2018 generally a good year to be flying? Well, you can possibly say "yes" as no casualties or serious injuries were recorded as a result of commercial flight activities around the country. Gradually, we have seen a slight overall increase in safety standards, yet the service quality remains very poor. Based on the results from this study, you can now have an informed judgement on those airlines to choose or avoid this 2019. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you safe travels in 2019!