The continuous increase in the price of aviation fuel, also known as, Jet A1 has continued to give stakeholders in the nation’s aviation sector, concern over profitability and existence of airline operators.
It was gathered that aviation fuel has risen to between N800 to N814 per litre, depending on the location of purchase, thereby making it difficult for airlines to break even, with some threatening to shutdown operations.
According to the vice president, Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), Allen Onyema, airlines will shut down operations due to rising cost of aviation fuel, also known as, Jet A1.
He noted that 16 months ago, the price of aviation fuel was about N200 per litre but averagely sold for N700 per litre in the local market.
“That is why we ran to the government and the Federal Government has given us about 10,000 metric tonnes of fuel at the cost of N580 per litre in Lagos, and about N607 per litre outside Lagos.
“This is not the only issue. Since the COVID-19 crisis, most airlines all over the world, including Nigeria have not recovered from COVID-19, except those whose countries have injected so much funds to assist them. This is nobody’s fault. It just happened,” he said adding that the federal government has tried its best giving them aviation fuel.
“We have come to realise that there is little or nothing the committee set up can do, because this is as a result of foreign exchange and the price of oil all over the world now,” Onyema said.
The president, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Nigeria (AOPAN), Alexander Nwuba, said government should find short and long term solutions to the aviation fuel crisis.
Nwuba, a former chief executive officer, Associated Airlines, further stated that aviation is the life wire of the nation’s economy, hence, long term solutions is needed.
“FG should allow Airlines to charge economic rates for air travel in Nigeria. Anyone that can afford to pay the economic rate should do so. Those who cannot afford the new rates should travel by road. Nigeria must not be turned to a Socialist Republic. We cannot afford to deploy tax payers funds for the travel of the rich. It will amount to a grave injustice to do so.”
Also speaking, the secretary general, Aviation Round Table Initiative (ARTI), Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), supported the increase in price to meet the current reality of aviation fuel.
According to him, for how long will the government be subsidising private business and enterprises with public funds, saying if they want to remain in commercial aviation business, all they need to do is to increase fares.
“If they have credible business plans, they would have known that the fuel prices have not been stable in more than five years. It has moved from N170 to N200, N300, N500 and now N700 even when the fuel marketers were getting subsidies from government,” he stated.