There are indications that flight services in Nigeria may be put to a halt from Thursday this week.
This follows the hint given by airline operators that they might be forced to shut down operations as a result of high high cost of aviation fuel.
Vice President, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Chief Allen Onyeama, had disclosed this during a meeting with oil marketers, regulators, and the House of Representatives leadership on Monday.
He explained that with the current price of fuel, they could no longer sustain their operations.
His words, “I have the mandate of every airline in this country to announce to you that if they cannot come down from their rooftop, we have only three more days to be able to fly. We are not threatening this country. We have been subsidising what we are doing.
“We have an aircraft going to Kano that has about 7000 litres of fuel on it. Multiply it by 630. The unit cost per seat already is about N70,000 per seat. You have not talked about the insurance that is very static and Nigerians pay a lot of insurance premiums because this country is stigmatised.”
“What we use in insuring one plane is what the legacy airlines of this world use in insuring about three planes. So, the Nigerian airline is dead on arrival.
“Yet, the fuel cost which was supposed to be about 30 to 40 per cent (of operational costs) in every other clime in the world, in Nigeria it is about 70 per cent even before this time (of scarcity). So, you can now see the mortality rate of airlines in this country and the causes.”
The Air Peace boss also challenged the marketers to disclose the actual price of aviation fuel.
He argued that the marketers had refused to answer the simple question.
“Whether you got money from the CBN or from the black market, how much is the unit cost of your acquisition so that we know if the airlines are cheating you or you are cheating the airlines, or if you have formed a cartel to increase your prices overnight.”
“From what is happening if we continue this way, the least ticket you will expect from airlines will be about N120,000 for Economy (Class). And we don’t want to do that because it will not help the ordinary man.
“I have the mandate of airways to inform the House that we are now demanding that we should be given a license to import this fuel. If we can buy jets that cost about $80m, we can afford to import this fuel. Let NNPC give us the right to import fuel and we will not complain to you,” he said.
High cost of fuel cuts across all the modes of transportation in Nigeria. Only last week, people who boarded train from Ibadan to Lagos were left stranded on the way after the vehicle reportedly stopped ” in the middle of nowhere” due to lack of fuel.