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Skyrocketing Jet A1 fuel: Nigerians groan over cost of local flights

By Francis Ajuonuma
Domestic flights across the country yesterday hit N130, 000 for a one-way flight from Lagos to Abuja, a development that has left many Nigerians groaning in the grief of a tougher time ahead for the aviation industry and the Nigerian economy.

The sudden increase in airfares for domestic flights, ThisNigeria gathered was due to the rising cost of aviation fuel also known as Jet A1 fuel, which hit N1000 per litre at the weekend, and the high cost of facility maintenance caused by constant inflation and the depreciation of the country’s currency.

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ThisNigeria checks reveal that the Air Peace economy ticket for yesterday (Sunday) at 10:40am and 7:50pm was priced at N100,000, seats in Max Air flights scheduled for 8:30am and 9:10am were priced at N125,000 and N130,000, respectively.

Seats on an Air Peace flight scheduled for 6:30 am yesterday were still selling for N85,000, with flights at 2:55pm and 3:20pm sold out, while, Max Air’s flights scheduled for 5:20pm and 6:15pm were still selling for N84,000 and N75,000, respectively.

Also, prices for economy tickets in Arik ranged between N80,595 and N93,452, with Ibom Air’s only available yesterday flight selling its economy ticket for N78,000.

The increase in airfare is the result of multiple challenges confronting the aviation industry, including an increase in the price of jet A1 and the high cost of facility maintenance caused by constant inflation and the depreciation of the country’s currency.
Earlier in July, Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors, temporarily suspended operations due to the scorching impact of the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel.

The airline said operations in the past few months had been challenging, citing the high cost of maintenance, skyrocketing fuel prices, inflation, and forex scarcity as some of the challenges faced by airline operators.

However, some Nigerians, who spoke with our correspondent lamented that the increase in domestic airfare will no doubt compound the already battered Nigerian economy, while some believed that the federal government should as a matter of urgency take necessary steps to save the aviation industry from collapsing.
A passenger, Fidelis Okezie, while reacting to the development, described it as absurd and making air travelling exclusively for the very rich.

“Honestly, I don’t know where Nigeria is heading to. Flight fare at N100,000 to N130, 000 is very much on the high side and this will affect businesses in the country,” he said.

For James Ameh, “This is not funny at all. Already Nigerians are facing a trying time, feeding well because of the harsh economy presently being experienced in the country and now airfare, just a one-way flight from Lagos to Abuja is between N100, 000 to N130, 000 and with the way things are going it could reach N200, 000 unless the Federal Government steps in fast and take a decisive decision that will force the airfares down.”

Skyrocketing Jet A1 fuel: Nigerians decry cost of local flights

Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has blamed the high cost of aviation fuel on the global crisis affecting countries like America, New Zealand, and other developed nations, and not a peculiar situation to Nigeria.

Speaking recently while playing host to members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) in Abuja, Sirika maintained that the crises in the aviation sector are beyond the industry’s control, stating that there was no immediate solution.

The Minister regretted that there was no short-term solution because of the variables involved, especially since it is a global problem.

“Energy crisis is real and it is global. Today there are aviation fuel problems all over the world; from America to New Zealand. It is aggravating in Nigeria because we don’t produce the product.

“It is aggravated also because the foreign exchange is scarce in Nigeria because the source of earning the foreign exchange also has dwindled,” he said.

He stated that the Federal Government had in the past sourced 10,000 metric tonnes of aviation fuel for the airlines. “As we speak, the government is in the process of finding a permanent solution to this issue.”

Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, President, AON, said the forex crisis was also a huge burden on the industry.

 

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