…Says Critical Stakeholders Working Together To Resolve Issue
As the price of aviation fuel also known as Jet-1A continues to skyrocket with airlines grumbling and buying the product between N680 and N700 per litre depending on the area, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) has described the situation the airlines found themselves as critical and unfortunate.
This is just as he said that NCAA has carried out economic and financial audit on three airlines and that the audit is in batches, adding that the findings would be made known at the end of the exercise.
According to him, We are currently conducting financial and economic audits of airlines in the country. We have done two or three of the airlines and other airlines would be taken in batches. I will sit down and discuss with the management on the airlines on the way forward. Like I said, we have a financial crisis and we don’t want it to cross over into a safety crisis. We need to manage the situation. For now, we remain focused, while working to address the solution to the financial difficulties in the airlines. This cannot go on forever. So, we are working around the clock to find a solution to the problem.”
The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu gave the description today at the regulatory body’s Lagos office while speaking with Aviation j\Journalists.
“It is a critical thing that we have in the industry not only the shortage of aviation fuel but also the cost. It is a serious concern to the NCAA. The Aviation Minister has stepped into the matter. Efforts are being made to resolve the issue. It is really a pathetic situation that we do not refine jet –A1 in Nigeria and the crisis in Ukraine and the exchange of the Dollars against the Naira issue further worsen the case. It is a double jeopardy for airlines,” he said.
The DG hinted that what the industry is having is economic and financial crisis and that the exchange rate of the naira to the dollars coupled with the airlines inability to access Foreign Exchange (FOREX) has not helped matters.
He disclosed that the critical stakeholders as it concerns availability of Jet-A1 such as the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), Senate and House Committees on Aviation airlines are working together to resolve the issue.
The aviation industry, he said, cannot be treated in isolation from the environment it operates in.
We cannot treat aviation in isolation with the environment it operates in. Air transport deals with lives so we do our best to ensure safety of lives. At this point safety is our priority.
He disclosed that aviation fuel is more available in Lagos and Abuja compared to other cities in the country, adding that marketers are not willing to sell aviation fuel to airlines because they are highly indebted to them.
The DG He said that the challenge of airlines accessing FOREX to maintain their aircraft abroad, Nuhu said that the inability of the country to have Maintain Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, airlines in the country will continue to source for Dollars to carry out maintenance for their aircraft overseas.
He, however, assured that NCAA and other critical stakeholders are making efforts to address issues to bring reprieve to airlines and the industry.
“We don’t have MRO in Nigeria and all the airlines maintain their airplanes abroad with dollars. Therefore, they have to get FOREX to do that. Efforts are being made to resolve the issue. The critical stakeholders are working together to ensure a significant solution that will bring succour to the airline.
“We have no choice but to resolve the issue. Failure is not a choice,” he added.
On the removal of 5 per cent fuel surcharge collected by NCAA and the approval for them to introduce a fuel surcharge of between 25 per cent and 40 per cent by Airline Operators of Nigeria(AON), the NCAA boss said that the issue is not under NCAA purview and that is the Act of the National Assembly(NASS) signed by the President into the Nigerian Civil Aviation law.
Only the NASS and President can review the law. It is outside my area of authority. But we will look at other areas of assisting them.”