The Federal Government has appealed to domestic airline operators in Nigeria to reconsider their decision to shut down operations over the rising cost of Jet A1, otherwise known as aviation fuel.
This is coming some hours after the airlines announced plans to withdraw their services with effect from Monday, May 9, 2022, as the high cost of aviation fuel which has increased from N190 per litre to N700 per litre, has created huge pressure on the sustainability of operations and financial viability of the airlines.
This disclosure is contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the Minister of Aviation, James Odaudu, on Saturday, where the minister asked the airlines to consider the implications of the planned action, noting that it is concerned about the rising cost of aviation fuel.
What the Aviation Minister is saying
Odaudu said the aviation fuel price is not within the purview of his 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.
The statement partly reads, “Unfortunately, the issue of fuel supply is not within the purview of the Ministry and so 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 is already being done by the relevant team led by the Honourable Minister.
“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.”
The ministry also acknowledged the importance of the sector and that the airline operators are in the business to make profits, and reiterated the government’s resolve to create a conducive environment for businesses.
It states, “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.’’
What you should know
- Recall that on Friday evening, May 6, Air Peace, Ibom Air, Max Air, Arik Air, United Nigeria Airlines and 4 other airlines under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria announced plans to shut down operations with effect from Monday, May 9, 2020, as the cost of the aviation fuel hits N700 per litre.
- The domestic airline operators had earlier in March notified the passengers of expected flight delays and cancellations as a result of the hike in aviation fuel, a development which impacted heavily on their operations.
- The plan was shelved following the intervention of the federal government and the NNPC, as all parties in their discussion agreed to the granting of licenses for the importation of aviation fuel which is needed for their operations.