CHAPTER ONE 1.0 Introduction
It is believed that the goal of every organization is to meet the needs and the requirements of its stakeholders. Meeting the needs and the requirements of the stakeholders will not only ensure the survival of the organization but also flourish it. Customer is presumed to be one of the most important stakeholders in any organization because without him, organizations are not likely to succeed. Travel trade in Nigeria contributes 6.8% of Nigeria’s GDP, INR 2,178.1 Billion to the country’s GDP, USD 18.13 Billion in foreign exchange earnings, 3.6 % growth is foreign tourists from May 2015, 39.5 million jobs, 7.7% of its total employment. Total travel agents in Nigeria: 20,000 (approx) doing monthly business.
1.1 Background of the Study The success of airlines depends majorly on the ability to identify customers’ wants and needs, and factor it in the quality service that would meet customers’ satisfaction. Air transport is the transportation of passengers and cargo by aircraft and helicopters.Thus, it is a transport mode for the movement or carriage by air of persons or goods using airplanes and helicopters (Don- Beliner 1996). The airline industry is a major player in the world economy as it contributes significantly to the leisure/tourism and is a key element of international business (Tiernan, Rhodes & Waguespack, 2008), with global airline revenues exceeding $12.9 billion as at 2006 (IATA, 2007). The aviation industry in Nigeria is a major player in the economy owing to its substantial contribution to ease of movement within the country especially in the face infrastructural decay (poor and insecure road transport system) in the recent years. Nigerian Airways was established in October, 1958 as a joint venture between the Nigerian government’s lines and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) while the Nigerian Airways took over the operation of domestic flights from the disbanded West African Airways Corporation (WAAC) which had been operating commercial aircraft within the country since 1946 (Filani, 1983). In 1963, the Nigerian Federal Government bought out the other shareholders and the Nigerian government became the sole-owner of Nigeria Airways. The airline has monopoly for providing domestic air services in Nigeria and also the national flag carrier for international services. According to Filani (1983), in 1976, within Nigeria several charter companies joined the Nigeria Airways to operate additional flight in small aircraft from Lagos to the main economic centers in the Southern and Northern parts of the country. The Nigerian government realizing the role of air transport in the Nation’s development made significant attempts to develop the country’s aviation industry. The most massive was the 1975-1980 airport development programme in which the Murtala Mohammed airport complex was about complex was about N240 million (Filani, 1983). Six other airports in Kano, Ilorin, Kaduna, Sokoto, Port Harcourt and Maiduguri were developed to accommodate large aircrafts. Apart from these airports development programme the Federal government also intensifies manpower development in the aviation industry. But due to the efficiency of the sector, the aviation industry was liberalized to allow private owners to compete favourable in the business. Port Harcourt International Airport (IATA: PHC, ICAO: DNPO) is an international airport located in Omagwa, a suburb of Port Harcourt city in Rivers State,Nigeria. The airport consists of a single terminal with separate facilities for international and domestic flights. In 2009, the airport served 1,081,587 passengers, making it the third busiest airport in Nigeria. This lead increase of number of operators and perceived frequent flyers in the industry which does the perceived services value and quality often reflect the customers’ level of satisfaction with the airline and show intention to repatronize the service (FMA, 2012). According to Nigerian Airport Authority (FMA, 2012), from visiting family and friends to shipping high value products, 8.3 million passengers and 181,000 tonnes of freight travelled to, from and within Nigeria; domestically, more than 66,800 flights make over 75 million seats available to passengers, destined to 18 airports as at years 2011 and 2012. Since success of airlines in Nigeria will be its ability to identify customers’ wants and needs, gather them up and then come up with quality service that would meet customers’ satisfaction it important that researches on assessing the determinant of choice of airline should be continuous as this will assist all the stakeholders survive in their strive to supress competition by attempting to bridge the existing gap between customers’ service expectations and the quality of service offered by them to fly within Nigeria. In Nigeria, the value of consumer benefit varies because of how often they fly, and the value a passenger attach to additional flight will in general fall. This is consonance to the law of diminishing returns which states that airming that to continue after a certain level of performance has been reached, will result in a decline in effectiveness (Case, Karl & Fair Ray (1999).