United Nigeria’s Traffic Hits 25,000 In Four Weeks - NEW TELEGRAPH
BY WOLE SHADARE
Chairman, United Nigeria Airline, Chief Obiora Okonkwo, says its operations, route expansion and additional aircraft acquisition will be done in phases to avoid biting more than they can chew.
This is coming as the airline also assured of employing more Nigerians with the gradual increase of their operations within and outside the country in line with their big dreams. Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, Okonkwo said their medium term plan was to consolidate on their domestic op- erations while eyeing the actualisation of flying into the West African region.
He said, the responses the airline had been getting from the market was heartwarming, adding that in the next couple of months, it would add another aircraft to its fleet. Okonkwo said: “We are hoping that we should increase our air fleet very soon.
We are looking at the next couple of months. A lot of plans are already in the way, we have been happy so far with the responses we have been getting from the market.” He emphasised that the strong vision of the airline was to fly to unite, which means safety in all their operations. ”We are glad today, it is operational, it is offering services to thousands of people in Nigeria,” he said.
On the choice of the aircraft type, ERJ145, the United Nigeria Airline boss said it was the best for them and convenient to build routes and give passengers the quality service they deserve. He said: “We had a thorough due diligence before we embarked on that.
The fuel saving capacity is an advantage, the passenger load, which is 50, is an advantage, we thought as a new airline, it might take us a while to fill up the aircraft, so, we felt that with an efficient fuel utiliseation with not too huge passenger load, we might be able to manage our good and bad days.” He stated that the airline had assembled some of the best brains with the requisite experiences in the industry to run the airline, stressing that he was proud of the team with the successes so far recorded in the past eight weeks of operations. “We are very proud of our team.
For us, team work is very important in what we are doing, staff welfare is important, family spirit is important and we are bringing all our experiences we have in all our areas of endeavours into this aviation business. “I seek your support to help us be where we need to be for the service to mankind to the glory of God,” he noted.
In the area of employment, Okonkwo said employment opportunities had been created in different areas of operations, adding that with the commencement of flight, they have engaged a whole lot of people with some of them up to 50 per cent to 60 per cent having their first experience in aviation after undergoing the required mandatory trainings.
”You know, it is very strict, there must be training, there must be indoctrination, there must be standard they have to meet, for us, this number of people are those who have benefited in the opportunities we have created. “More people are in the pipeline as we expand our routes, open our operational base and that will go on and on, the more aircraft we have, the more people that will be employed,” he added.
Giving a breakdown of their passenger traffic in the two months of operations, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Osita Okonkwo, said during the period, they carried 25,000 passengers and that the passenger load was currently 3,200 per week. He reechoed that they would not be in a hurry in increasing their capacity to do things, but rather, it would be gradually, organic and systematic.
“We have four aircraft, we could have started all the four aircraft the same day, but we are an organisation that is very, very deep rooted in learning and in knowing our limitations and growing into our experiences. So, step by step, we are creating the necessary systems, processes institutions and organs that will help us achieve the target we have set for ourselves,” he added.