Minister appeals to airlines over effects of plans to shut operations

 

  • Says Jet A1 hike not within Aviation Ministry’s purview

 

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said the supply of aviation fuel, otherwise known as Jet A1 is not within the purview of the Ministry, adding that the much it can do in the present situation is to engage with agencies, institutions and individuals in positions to provide succour to the airlines.

This, he said is already being done by the relevant team led by his office to cushion the effects of the high cost of the commodity that has jumped to N700 per litre.

Sirika who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr James Odaudu in a bid to prevail on the airlines to shelve grounding of the operations from Monday next week said they acknowledge that the airline operators are in the business to make profits while servicing the very critical sector that is not only the preferred mode of transport for most Nigerians but also the main international gateway to the nation.

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His words, “While the efforts to assuage the situation are on, we wish to appeal to the airline operators, even in the difficult situation, to consider the multiplier effect of shutting down operations, on Nigerians and global travellers, in taking their business-informed decisions and actions”.

“We also assure Nigerians, especially stakeholders in the sector, that the Buhari administration remains stoic in its commitment to the creation and sustenance of an environment that promotes the growth of the aviation industry where major players like the airlines can operate in a profitable and competitive market”, Sirika added.

Airline operators under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had late Friday again issued a threat to down tools next week over the astronomical rise in the price of Jet A1 otherwise known as aviation fuel.

The operators had two months ago issued a similar threat to Nigerians; a situation that prompted the National Assembly to wade into what would have led to a major crisis in the aviation industry.

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This time around, the group said no commercial airline will fly out of Lagos, Abuja or any saying they can’t absorb the hike in sudden cost anymore.

The airlines that threatened to shut operations are Dana, Azman, Arik, Air Peace, Dana Air, United Nigeria Airline, Overland Airways, and Aero Contractor.

According to them, while aviation fuel costs about 40 per cent of an airline’s operating cost globally, the present hike has shut up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95 percent.

. In a press statement on Friday the president of AON, Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, said they can’t absorb the hike in sudden cost anymore.

The airlines are Air Peace, Dana Air, United Nigeria Airline, Arik Air, Azman, Overland Airways, and Aero Contractor. The statement reads, “it is with a great sense of responsibility and patriotism that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have carried on deploying and subsidizing their services to our highly esteemed Nigerian flying public in the last four months despite the steady and astronomical hike in the price of JetA1 and other operating costs.”

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“Over time, aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently. No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period. While aviation fuel worldwide is said to cost about 40% of an airline’s operating cost globally, the present hike has shut up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95%.”

According to AON, the cost of a seat on a plane is N120,000 due to the rising cost of Jet A1 in the country.

Wole Shadare