Statement of Problem
The role airports play in the flow of passengers and cargo traffic from location to location cannot be overemphasised. However, the emergence of more domestic airlines offering scheduled services has led to increased level of competition for traffic amongst them. Loosely associated with this development is the issue of choice for potential travellers in this subsector and the choice of route by airlines as they compete for market share. The increase in number of operators flying same routes has resulted in more competition for traffic which now leaves the air travellers with the need to make a choice on which airline to fly with at any particular time.
With the increasing passenger and cargo traffic, airports needs to expand and improve their operational capacity towards accommodating increasing workload, which invariably leads to increased operating and capital costs for airport operators. Oyesiku and Oduwole (2004), Bubalo (2011) have suggested that with expansion, airports will benefit from economies of scale (less expenditure per unit of output) by enhancing efficiencies in operations and spreading out of the overhead costs; others, however, have suggested the opposite, arguing that increased in size will lead to increased operational and administrative complexities that will result in a loss of efficiencies.
Stephens (2003) noted that the traffic congestion in both developed and developing countries is getting worse; as the capacity of networks cannot increase at a rate to match the increase in demand. Bubalo (2009) studied productivity of 58 European airports and its use of infrastructures, based on the annual and design peak hour (DPH) runway and terminal demand using benchmarking to know the role of capacity utilization in airport performance. To make airports comparable regarding the capacity of airport system to serve demand, Bubalo made effort to isolate peer group with productivity characteristics. He also proposed for the purpose of benchmarking a rule-of-thumb methodology for isolating an airport’s DPH.
Kupfer et al. (2012) stated that about half of air cargo is still transported in the belly space of passenger aircraft or in combi-aircraft and is therefore partly influenced by passenger transport, and that there are very important differences between air freight transported in all-cargo aircraft and in passenger aircraft.
The view of Woodrow (2012) emphasized the growing percentage of cargo that will have to be transported in passenger bellies of most modern Airbus and Boeing twin-engine aircrafts; while smaller freighter operators are likely to increasingly focus on optimising their belly space for cargo operations.
Stephens (2009) forecasted that the Nigerian Civil Aviation industry will keep growing at an average of 15% domestic traffic so that by 2019 an estimated 12,461,043 million passenger will be carried domestically. An industry with this growth rate should be of great interest.
The study of Merkert and Ploix (2014) further established the influence of passenger terminal re-organisation on belly-hold freight operations at airports.
Gardiner (2006) found the location and presence of freight forwarders (cargo agents) as part of airport characteristics identified to be attracting cargo airlines to an airport. This underscores the importance of cargo agents operations at any airport.
Salazar de la Cruz (1999) found that airports with 3.5 to 12.5 million passengers had constant returns to scale, whereas airports with over 12.5 million passengers exhibited decreasing returns to scale.
Adenigbo and Ubogu (2014) noted that air cargo flow seems to be characterized by constraints in Nigeria which depicts a symptom of poor co-ordination of cargo for efficient distribution and supply chain that is not cost-effective.
Afolabi (2005) revealed that the warehouses and facilities in Nigeria airports were not adequate enough to handle the volume of air cargo for efficient flow. The author further identified tough clearing procedure as a constraint to the air cargo industry in Nigeria.
The rapidly expanding aviation sector in Nigeria handles over 15 million passengers that board aircraft in the year 2014 and the expected multiple increase in the current period (Ayantoyinbo, 2015). Identifying various service characteristics of domestic airlines vis-à-vis the management of their customers becomes crucial.
Based on the foregoing, a number of questions on the variation in flow of passengers and cargo needs to be assessed, there is need to analysed the types and volume of cargo flowing at Nigeria international airport and compare the variation in the flow of passengers and cargo in Nigeria international airport. To this effect, the following questions will help in achieving the stated objective of this study.
Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to assess airline operations in Dr. Nnamid Azikwe International Airport, FCT Abuja, Nigeria. The study will specifically
Significance of the Study
The study will be of benefit to all stakeholders in the Aviation sector particularly the Airline Operators, the travelling public and the Governments of Nigeria. The need to ensure adequate infrastructural development and control over air safety by following the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices strictly.
The help government agency controlling the aviation sector in formulating adequate policy on the operations of airlines in Nigeria airports and other airports across the globe.
The Airlines will find the study useful as they may find sense in mergers and acquisition in order to compete favourably with the big airlines in the advanced economies of the world and join the “global alliance” groupings. Also the study will help to enhance the contemporary issue of billing, aviation fuel price and business models of airlines as it affect airlines role in their contribution to their primary economy.