The Vice President, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Mr. Allen Onyema has denied any increment in airfares by the body on all domestic routes across the country.
He said, the operators never meant at anytime to discuss hike in fares and any airline who had done so did so individually against the backdrop of the rising cost of operations.
Speaking at a news conference after its Annual General Meeting in Lagos, Mr. Onyema said, customs was frustrated their efforts in getting spares for their aircraft, adding that, their challenges have further been compounded by poor airport infrastructure, rise in the price of aviation fuel and lack of access to forex.
He stated that, domestic airlines last year alone lost $60million as a result of bird strikes and over N20 billion to flight delays, cancellations and refunds.
“Jet A1 fuel has risen from N200 to a litre to N430 to a litre, do not forget our business is dollarized, everything is in dollars, do you want to fall out of the skies or do you want to fly safe?”.
The body also frowned upon the multiple designations granted Qatar and Ethiopian airlines by the Federal Government describing it as a ploy to send domestic carriers out of the business.
According to him, domestic airlines would close shop if government continues to give multiple designations to their foreign counterparts.
“It is the belief of the AON that the growth of the Nigeria aviation will be stagnated if we keep on encouraging this kind of furore into our operations, the capital flight that follows this is unimaginable, continuously deplete our national treasury, it will also inhibit the growth of domestic airlines in the country”.
While commending the Federal Government for duty waivers on spares and aircraft, AON called on the airport manager to up their game in ensuring seamless facilitation of passengers with functional equipment.