Charter plane operators in Nigeria are presently facing hard times due to dwindling patronage in the emerging aviation market.Sources indicates that the dwindling market is as a result of recent increase in the acquisition of private jets by affluent Nigerians, thereby cutting on the leading charter jet operators like Wings Aviation, Top Brass Aviation, Kings Airlines, Associated Airlines, Aerocontractors Airlines and VistaJets, among others.
Aviation analysts say that the number of private jets in the country has increased from about 20 in 2008 to over 150 in 2012, making it the second fastest-growing private jet markets in the world, after China.
The momentous drop in the charter jet business, it was learnt, is due to the recent upsurge of private jets ownership in the country by mostly business moguls, religious leaders and politicians.
Investigation by Huhuonline.com has proved that out of the six major charter jet operators in Aviation the sub-sector, Wings Aviation, Associated Airlines and Aerocontractors have gone aground in the charter business by diversifying their services into the oil and gas sector.
According to the Managing Director of Top Brass, Mr. Roland Iyayi and his counterpart in the Wings Aviation, Captain Nogie Meggison, they have relaxed their services in the regular charter business and diversified into more profit yielding sectors of the economy.
This is just as top officials of Associated Airlines and Aerocontractors confirmed the interim suspension of their charter jet businesses pending the acquisition of new jets, alleging that unlicensed companies that do not have Air Operators’ Certificates have taken over the charter business.
But Aerocontractors, which used to serve its charter private jet clients with Hawker Siddley 125-800 private jets, also disclosed that its Boeing 737 jets and Bombardier Dash 8 propeller jets were ready for hire services.
According to the embattled chatter operators, “The charter jet business is now for almost everybody that has a private jet. Some private jet owners now hire out their planes to their political associates and friends. This is against the regulation of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
“Apart from the fact that most of our clients have acquired their own private jets, the activities of operators who do not have AOC from NCAA have been a major threat to our business. NCAA is pretending as if it does not know this, and it is bad.”
However, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, NCCA spokesman has described the allegations as frivolous