COVID-19: International airlines lament low sales, plan to cut flights


Grace Cofie

The travel bans imposed by Canada and the United Kingdom on Nigeria have affected international airlines operating in the country.

This was followed by the outbreak of the Omicron variants of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has caused flights into and out of Nigeria to be cut down by carriers.

The development, according to the airline official, has caused massive cancellation of flight reservations by intending passengers.

“Canada and the United Kingdom are popular destinations for Nigeria travelers. These are key markets for us as international airlines operating in Nigeria.

“Hundreds of Nigerian passengers fly in and out of these two countries on a daily basis. So, the ban by the two countries is affecting our numbers significantly,” an official of KLM, who spoke anonymously said.

Also, an official of AirFrance disclosed that many of the carriers might reduce their frequencies from daily flights to twice or three times a week.

“Imagine! We used to have about 80 passengers going to London on our Lagos-Paris flight. On Monday when the ban commenced, passengers transiting through Charles de Gaulle to London were just 10 in number. This is bad for business. We will definitely cut flights,” the official added.

Another official said the flight might be outrightly cancelled if the situation persisted.

Meanwhile, British Airways has informed travel agencies in Nigeria about a change in its flight schedules on the Nigerian route, following the ban on Nigeria by the UK government.

British Airways plane which usually arrives at the Lagos airport around 6pm and depart 11pm on daily basis will now arrive early in the morning to depart a few hours later.

The development is to allow the passengers arriving in the UK to have access to quarantine facilities.

This was made in a notice by the British Agency titled, “Restrictions for travel from Nigeria to the UK,” which was sent to the local travel agencies.

The notice by British Airways to travel agencies read in part, “As a result of the UK government placing Nigeria on to the red list, we continue to closely monitor the situation and adjust our schedule accordingly.

“All flights from Lagos to London Heathrow have been re-timed. This is due to restrictions at London Heathrow to support arrivals from a red-list country.

“All customers travelling from Nigeria must follow the UK government’s rules on arrivals from a red-list country and have a negative PCR test result within the 48 hours prior to their departure from Nigeria.”

It added, “Only British or Irish nationals or customers who have residence rights in the UK will be allowed to enter the UK, where they will be required to quarantine in a government facility.”

It also stressed that any customer wishing to transfer must follow the rules for their final destination.


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