- Airlines fret over looming flight disruptions
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that the Federal Government and the country’s carriers will have to reach a middle ground on how to stem the rising price of aviation fuel, urging the operators not to be part of the problem through their actions that havr also led to crisis in the aviation industry.
Sirika, who spoke at the 7th Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Aviation Week currently going on Abuja, attributed the high cost of Jet A1 in Nigeria to high demand for crude oil including the ongoing Russian-Ukraine crisis and low capacity to refine Jet A1 around the world.
His said: “There is huge demand and the population of the world is increasing. There is a huge demand for these products. It is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is worse in other countries in terms of pricing and availability. So, it is something we have to live with and I am sure theyunderstandthat. “If you continue to pass the buck to the passengers, you will kill the transportation business or you make the air transportation unattractive.
A middle ground would have to befoundandIamsureitwould be found. In Nigeria, what we are going to do and in a meeting held in the Presidency.” The Minister disclosed that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was going to look for a way to getthecommoditythroughthe oil majors or deep oil and once there is more supply.
With that, he said, there would be less demand leading to price stability, hinting that the country was looking at ways to refine the commodity. “When you have to bring it in from outside, there is the landing cost, the charges, taxes and that adds to the price of Jet A1.
“It is really biting around the world. We hope the airlines do understand this because whatissold inNigeriaisnotthe highest in the world and they can attest to the government of Buhari that has been very impactful on their businesses becausethenumberof airlines hasdoubled; thatmeansweare doing the right things. I think the government is doing a lot for them just to mention a few in terms of support,” he noted.
Meanwhile, airlines under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have alerted the public of impending disruptions to scheduled flight operations. Spokesman for AON, Obiora Okonkwo, stated that this development was being forced on members by the growing scarcity of aviation fuel popular as Jet-A1.
He stated that the scarcity ws impacting negatively on the seamless conduct of air transport operations and would lead to flight re-scheduling, and, or, cancellations. He, however, stated that the association and its members were working very hard, and in alliance with product marketers, government, and relevant stakeholders, to ensure the availability and proper pricing of aviation fuel in the country.
While pleading for the understanding of the flying public in the face of this reality, “we also promise to do all that is necessary, and within our powers, to restore normal flight schedules as soon as possible.” Just last week, Dana Air Dana Air’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sukhjinder Mann, said the airlines were witnessing the scarcity of Jet A1 fuel across the airports in Nigeria, which has in some cases, caused recent flight delays.
Nigerian flying public has been subjected to harrowing experiences of flight delays and cancellations as flights are no longer operated on schedule; a situation that is getting out of hand.
According to him, “our commitment to offering a convenient and reliable schedule has never been in doubt and has always been centered on setting new standards in customer experience and redefining air travel and this communication is to reassure you that we have the commitment of our fuel partners to service our requirements and that we will continue to offer you competitive fares for your business and leisure travels.”