With the aviation industry set for restart flight operations, stakeholders kicked against the campaign to remove middle seats, said it is uneconomical to airlines and would make passengers pay way more. Which is totally unnecessary since aircraft come fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that sanitizes air in the cabin of aircraft.
The industry stakeholders held a virtual meeting on June 16, titled Nigerian Aviation Stakeholders Rub Minds on ‘Status of Industry Restart’ sought the best way to restart the industry with various players providing their ideas.
Air Peace CEO, Chief Allen Onyema, stated in his argument against the removal of middle seats, that purchasing power of average Nigerian is low, giving a scenario where the airlines will need to transfer the fares on the middle seats on passenger tickets.
He submitted that the move will discourage people from flying which is against the idea of the restart in the first place stating that if people do not fly, airlines will die.
“It will kill the airlines in Nigeria. Can Nigerians afford N70, 000 worth of ticket on less than one hour flight?”
The Area Manager, West Africa of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Dr. Samson Fatokun, relayed the global airlines’ association stance on the resumption of aviation activities stating: “We support the operationalization of the ICAO’ CART by Nigeria but warned that: airlines will not break even with proposed 70% load factor.
A former Director-General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, in his submissions suggested a simulation before the real opening of the airports to passenger traffic.
“We need to assure passengers that it is safe to fly. A simulation exercise two days before the opening of the airports is encouraged.”