The Airline Operators of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to, again, look critically at the issues of scarcity and cost of aviation fuel as well as foreign exchange.
The AON stated this in a news release dated July 19 and titled ‘Airlines Continue to Struggle As Jet A1, Foreign Exchange Crises Worsen.’
In the statement which was signed by its Spokesperson, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, the AON noted that “Despite the continuous rise in the price of aviation fuel, the supply is at best epileptic and unpredictable at several airports across the country, thereby causing flight delays, and even cancellations, as airlines queue for fuel at airports across the country.”
The statement read in part, “Added to the already difficult situation, is the high cost and scarcity of foreign exchange. It is pertinent to note that airlines carry out most of their activities in the United States dollars which today, sells for N630 to $1; and is sadly also, in short supply. To say the least, airlines are in a ‘life and death’ struggle to secure the foreign exchange that they urgently need to acquire spare parts to ensure the regular routine and scheduled maintenance of aircraft. This is a major influence on how quickly a grounded aircraft can be fixed and restored for flight operations, which impacts greatly on the reliability of schedules, growth of the industry, as well as economic growth and sustainability.
“Going forward, the AON wishes to use the medium to graciously show appreciation to the Federal Government of Nigeria for its concern, and previous actions, which led to a mutually beneficial and cost-effective three-month aviation fuel supply window through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. That intervention greatly impacted on the aviation sector and solved what would have been a major national embarrassment.
“However, the issue is yet to be fully and generously resolved. We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to, once again, look critically at the issues raised in the statement as they affect scarcity and cost of aviation fuel and foreign exchange so as to find ways of ameliorating the problems that are likely to cause a shutdown of this very nationally essential service sector, which had contributed, and continues to contribute, to national economic development through jobs creation, taxes and increased commercial activities.
“The AON also thanks the traveling public for empathising with us in this critical time. Ours is an essential service that is patriotically and selflessly driven to serve Nigerians with our best and ensure that they continually, and safely, engage in business and leisure travels that help them achieve their objectives and also contribute positively to national economic development.”