Third Mainland Bridge: Low patronage may mar helicopter services - PUNCH
BY Joseph Olaoluwa
The hope of helicopter shuttle services operators to cash on the partial closure of Lagos Third Mainland Bridge may be marred by low patronage.
Chief Operating Officer of Tropical Arctic Logistics Limited, Femi Adeniji, told our correspondent that its shuttle service between Ikeja and Lagos Island had yet to get traction.
He said, “So far it has been low; no business. We have been on the ground for a while. There have been a lot of requests but no follow through.”
Several firms including Tropical Arctic Logistics Limited and Vetifly launched a helicopter charter system to help high net worth individuals to cross the bridge without hassles.
The charges of both firms are denominated in dollars.
Adeniji said, “The helicopter is capable of carrying 12 people but because of COVID-19, we restricted it to eight so that we can give some distance.
“Each passenger, we are charging them $500 per trip. It is just the operating cost on the helicopter. It is not a lot. Any CEO who sits in the traffic will spend at least a $1000 based on efficiency.”
Country Manager for Vetifly, Abiodun Olawale-Cole, said its own helicopter charter service would come in August. It is expected to charge each passenger an average of $150 dollars per trip.
Olawale-Cole said, “our service will launch later in August. We are flying from VI to the Ikeja airports. We also fly VI to Ibadan, VI to Akure.
“The price varies based on availability and times as well. The average price is $150 per person. Once we launch, you can download the app.”
Checks by our correspondent showed that commuters have been finding it difficult to go from the mainland to the island as alternatives routes were usually with heavy traffic congestion.
Aviation expert, Olumide Ohunayo, said the idea was of shuttle service was a welcome development since the target was top income earners.
He said, “I saw the helicopter charter services as an alternative to the malady of the Lagos traffic and due to the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge.
“It is a high-end exclusive service. I expect them to have good operations. This service is meant for top executives, the diplomatic community and high-end earners. It will build some confidence in the industry.”
Ohunayo said he looked forward to the operation of the shuttle