………..Airlines propose to import aviation fuel
Nigerian airline operators have warned on the possibility of its fleet being grounded from the next three days due to the high cost of aviation fuel.
Addressing lawmakers in the lower chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly on Monday, the chief executive officer of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, made a proposal to the Nigerian government to grant the airlines the license to import aviation fuel needed for their operations.
He accused aviation fuel marketers of not speaking the truth about the actual landing cost of aviation fuel. The Air Peace boss who said he spoke on behalf of other airlines, added that if drastic measures were not taken, the least air ticket would go for as high as N120, 000.
“If we continue this way, the least ticket you will have is about N120, 000. And the marketers have refused to tell us how much is the unit cost of their acquisition,” he said.
The airline operators were at the National Assembly for the public hearing by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the scarcity of aviation fuel in Abuja.
He argued that the opportunity of the airlines importing their aviation fuel would reduce unnecessary burden on the citizenry. “What we are asking from the government is to give us the right to import aviation fuel. What others use in insuring one plane is what we use in insuring three planes in Nigeria, so the Nigeria airline is dead on arrival,” he said.
In his comments, the deputy speaker, Hon. Ahmed Wase, said that the committee was only after fact, as it was poised to protect the interest of Nigerians. “We are not willing to compromise what is in the interest of our country,” he said.
He, however, chided the marketers for speaking the language they did not understand in order to cover up some facts. According to him, the marketers’ analyses are not correct based on the fact at the committee’s disposal.
He also wondered why some government agencies would not tell the truth about the aviation cost situation. “We should be seen to protect the interest of Nigeria and not otherwise.”
He said that the committee would ensure that the right thing was done in the interest of the country, adding that the basic tenet of governance remained the welfare of the people.
Meanwhile, the House minority leader, Hon, Toby Okechukwu, stated that such actions by marketers were bringing a lot of dysfunction to the country’s economy. “If we are saying that the landing cost of aviation fuel is N450 from Central Bank of Nigeria who approved it,” he said.