Nigerian airlines were shocked on Thursday when they were informed by oil marketers that aviation fuel had risen from N500 to N680 per litre, as they expressed fears that some of them might ground their operations due to high cost of the product, which is now over 60 per cent of their cost of operations.
The marketers published their new prices as follows: Lagos, N600 per litre, Abuja, N650 per litre and Kano, N680 per litre.
But the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), which is billed to meet Friday hinted that airlines might not pass the high cost of aviation fuel to their customers, but take the matter to government.
Top official of one of the airlines told THISDAY that despite the resolution reached by industry stakeholders in March that the price of fuel be pegged at N500, pending the determination of a substantive uniform price, the fuel marketers increased the price to N680.
The official told THISDAY that willy-nilly some airlines would not survive the price increase because many of the airlines are still recovering from the very low passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, the services of many of the domestic carriers would be impacted negatively and many airlines might have no choice than to shut down as they threatened to do in March because they would not be able to cope with the high cost of operations.
Head of Communication of Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, told THISDAY that AON would be meeting Friday to deliberate on the increase but expressed optimism that the airlines would not pass the increase to their customers but would reach out to government and marketers for the downward review of the new prices.
“For now we have not taken any decision. We just find a way to engage the marketers and the government on the ways to solve this problem. We don’t want to push it to the flying public. Everything will continue normally. There is yet no official statement but the impact on our operations will be too much to bear and that is more reason why airlines want to engage government and marketers to find ways to resolve this. It is a big issue. AON needs to step action and engage the government. We want everybody to fly,” Ezenwa said.
During one of the meetings held in March at the instance of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, AON threatened to shut down operations over non-availability of aviation fuel for their airplanes, as fuel marketers gave reasons why they hiked price.
AON told the House at the time that due to the increase in price of fuel and its nonavailability, its members won’t be able to sustain their operations and condemned the marketers for refusing to disclose the actual amount they buy aviation fuel per litre.
Currently the base fare of 45 minutes to one hour flight is N50, 000, which air travellers described as exorbitant, prompting many tavellers to shun the airports. There are indications that any fare hike would further reduce passenger traffic at the airports.
Culled from THISDAY