Danger in the air
Green Africa

Operators of domestic airlines in Nigeria under the umbrella of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), have warned that rising operational costs occasioned by aviation fuel price hikes, foreign exchange shortage, among others may push the base economy flight ticket to N100,000.

The spokesperson for local airlines/Chairman, United Airlines, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with Punch on Wednesday.

This is even as the airlines are now raising their base fair from N50, 000 to N55,000 and above.

Okonkwo told the medium that an increase in the base economy flight ticket to at least N100,000 might be inevitable for all domestic airline operators if the current situation persists.

“Obviously, it is inevitable. I can tell you that all the airline operators, in the last three months, have been losing money, a huge amount of money. There is too much stress on the operational fronts for them to break even. Even if the aviation fuel is made available, there must be a review to reflect the minimal operational cost. We are offering patriotic services to the nation and understand the essential part of it. We are part of this economic development process in Nigeria but it is coming at a very huge sacrifice.”

He added, “Nothing less than N100,000, between N100,000 and N120,000 base price, even with Jet A1 fuel at N400 – N500. That is what it is.”

In this regard, he added that meetings with the CBN ad yet to yield any positive result in the provision of adequate forex.

He further stressed the need for the aviation industry to be seen as an essential service that should have special consideration in financial matters.

Okonkwo clarified that the operators have no joy in increasing fares but it has become necessary for them to avoid shutting down and running out of business.

He added, “In the industry, it is expected that you will gain some here and lose some here but the biggest challenge indigenous operators are having is that the cost of everything is high. You source money from the commercial bank rates. You source money from the black market. No moratorium for your loans and the banks and AMCON are quick to jump on you.”

 

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