NIGERIAN airlines have threatened to discontinue their services from May 9, 2022 owing to the high cost of aviation fuel (JET A1).
According to a letter signed by the President of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, and sent to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, the airlines said they could no longer absorb the shocks of subsidizing fuel for Nigerians.
The letter, endorsed by the chief executives of other domestic airlines, said the high cost of JET A1 fuel affected profitability for airlines to the tune of 95 per cent.
The letter read in part, “Over time, aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently. No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period.
“While aviation fuel worldwide is said to cost about 40 per cent of an airline’s operating cost globally, the present hike has shut up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95 per cent.”
It explained in the statement that the AON had engaged the Federal Government, National Assembly, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and oil marketers with the view of bringing the cost of JetA1 down to no avail. It also lamented that the unit cost per seat for a one-hour flight in Nigeria today is an average of N120,000.
It also apologised to travellers in advance for the threatened disruption of their travel plans, urging them to make alternative arrangements.
On March 9, 2022, five Nigerian airlines had announced their intention to disrupt domestic passenger flights due to the scarcity of aviation fuel.
In separate statements, the airlines – Dana Air, Air Peace, Arik Air, Ibom Air and United Nigeria Airlines – stated the fuel sold for an average of N600 per litre, at the time.
On March 17, 2022, The ICIR exclusively reported that one-way ticket prices for Lagos to Abuja were being priced above N50,000 across business and even economy packages. Similarly, it was observed that these airlines were reducing their frequencies to manage the situation.
This was observed on the websites of Air Peace, United Nigeria Airlines, Arik Air, Green Africa and Dana Air.
Also, for Air Peace, one-way tickets from Lagos to Abuja on March 16, 2022 were sold for as high as N70,000. This was observed on 6:30am, 8:40am and 10:30am flights.