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Aviation fuel price : Airline Operators wants FG to intervene

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The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in the increasing price of Aviation Jet A1 fuel.

The association made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at an emergency meeting with the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, in his office.

The AON President, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Sarina, said the aviation fuel crisis began from N180 per liter to N1,000 per liter.

According to him, the foreign exchange (Forex) crisis is a huge burden on the aviation industry.

“The rate at which the dollar is escalating now is very alarming. Every day, a difference between N10 to N15 is added to the apparel market.

“ Last week Monday, it was N610 but today, it is N670 to one dollar. We want the Federal Government to intervene,” he appealed.

Speaking, Mr. Allen Oyeama, the AON Vice President, said the association was satisfied with the approach of the government intervention in the industry.

“We, airline operators, are satisfied with the approach the government is bringing to the table. I told Mr. President in order to alleviate our suffering. He approved 10,000MT of fuel. Another 5,000 has come in.

“ We are about to start accessing that. We are pleased with the approach in the long run. The solution is not in the short term.

“It is not easy to give a timeline to issues like this because the challenge is global. Even the American airlines are threatened too, it is not only Nigeria. But we are pleased so far,” he said.

In his remarks, the minister of aviation said there were no immediate solutions to the crises rocking Nigeria’s aviation sector.

According to him, the variables impacting the crises in the aviation sector are beyond the industry’s control. Thus, the variables involved especially a global problem.

“Energy crisis is real and it is global. Today there is an aviation fuel problem all over the world. From America to New Zealand. It is aggravating in Nigeria because we do not produce the product.

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“ It is aggravated also because the foreign exchange is scarce in Nigeria because the source of earning the foreign exchange also has dwindled, ” Sirika explained.

The minister, who said that the Federal Government had in the past sourced 10,000 metric tonnes of Aviation Fuel for the airlines, added that the government was willing to do more.

Sirika assured the association that the government was in the process of finding a permanent solution to the challenges in the aviation sector.

“By importation of the product at the appropriate price, accelerating the refurbishment of our refineries and also wait for the coming on stream of Dangote Refinery to boost the supply of the product. Thus, it cannot immediate.

“So, when you ask how soon, I will not know when Dangote will come on stream, I will not know how soon the refineries will be filled. I will not know when imports will become sufficient.

“But the government is working towards all these to happen” he guaranteed.

Sirika promised to meet with relevant stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria in order for the airlines to access dollars at the official market rate rather than the black market rate.

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