Stakeholders call for actions not mere words in addressing paucity of forex, Jet A1 price, infrastructure, others

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Airline Operators, aviation fuel marketers, handling companies and catering services in the air travel sector say paucity of foreign exchange and the collapse of naira against major currencies is a great challenge to the existence of their businesses.

The stakeholders who spoke at the 2nd day of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) National Aviation Conference (FNAC) with the theme: ‘Advancing the Frontiers of Possibilities for Safe, Secure and Profitable Air Transport’, in Abuja noted that, if nothing was done urgently many business may go into oblivion.

Vice Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Mr. Allen Onyema, says, in the coming months three domestic airlines may shut down due to the continuous rise in the price of aviation fuel.

He said, though the aviation fuel challenge was not peculiar to Nigeria alone but in Nigeria it is made worse because of the slump of naira against major currencies, especially the dollars.

The AON VP however stated that, the FG has provided palliative of 10,000 metric tonnes of aviation fuel to the airlines unfortunately they were yet to access it.

“Some airlines outside Nigeria have closed down because of the effects of rising aviation fuel. If these things are not addressed in Nigeria, it can affect the bottom line of all airlines in Nigeria”. 

”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 price of oil all over the world now. The fuel marketers will sell according to what they are paying. The cost of aviation fuel has increased, even in London and every other country. Our own is worse because of the increase in foreign exchange”.

For the Ground Handling Companies, under the aegis of the Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN), frown at the state of infrastructure at some of the airports, stressing that, FAAN in the last three years had done a lot to improve the facilities at the aerodromes.

Vice Chairman, AGHAN, Mr. Bashir Ahmed says, the poor state of facilities had limited the turnaround time of operators at the apron.

He, however, lauded FAAN for installing two explosive detective scanning machines each at the warehouses of the ground handling companies in Lagos, saying this had gone a long way to enhance the performances of the handling companies in the industry.

According to Ahmed, the scarcity of foreign exchange further reduces the operations and expansion of ground handling businesses in Nigeria.

“We still want to appeal to the Federal Government to grant waivers to handling companies on importation of ground handling equipment. Also, we need more scanning machines by FAAN to further improve our operations and create seamless services to our clients and the airlines.

A representative of aviation fuel marketers, John Abegunde, appealed to the government not to step into the commercial related issues in aviation fuel supply, warning that this major jeopardize safety in the system.

‘We should be wary of portfolio investors who come in when there are opportunities in the sub-sector, but moves out with their briefcases immediately there is a challenges”.

On the part of the catering services they, appealed to the government to address the myriads of challenges in the sector and called for a change in the bureaucracy in order to hasten business decisions.

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