The Airline Operators of Nigeria have raised concerns about the escalating cost of operations as aviation fuel prices surpassing N1300,
The disclosure was made in a statement on Friday by the Spokesman of Airline Operators of Nigeria, Obiora Okonkwo.
To prevent the collapse of numerous airlines, Okonkwo highlighted the crucial necessity for immediate government intervention in the statement.
The airlines have stated that the disruption in operational planning and stability within the aviation sector is due to the fluctuation in forex rates and the soaring cost of aviation fuel at N1,300 per litre.
Highlighting the unforeseen increase in aviation fuel prices from N700 per litre and the rise in the exchange rate to N1400/$1, Okonkwo explained the notable losses incurred by airlines.
The airlines' loss in the revenue stream is being further impacted as passengers who purchased tickets well in advance under previous rates are now being airlifted at the current higher costs, according to his claim.
“We are making losses on factors that are beyond our control. We are not only faced with the problem of scarcity of dollars; even the aviation ecosystem is feeling the heat. Handling companies have increased the cost of their services, airports have increased their charges and those that service the aircraft have also increased the cost of their services. The monies for these payments are coming from the passengers who are already exhausted financially,” he said.
Also noted by Okonkwo, a decline in the number of essential passengers traveling during both peak and off-peak seasons is being experienced by numerous businesses in Nigeria, resulting in low returns. Due to the current low season, the airlines are finding it challenging to maintain adequate load factors to support their operations, as there are fewer travelers for tourism and social engagements.
He also added that due to country risk, aircraft owners have become skeptical, making it impossible to bring in more aircraft. Even if a Nigerian airline meets its terms and all the standard criteria, the aircraft owners still consider country risk as the most important factor. Country risk takes precedence over everything else, and lessors have their own set of obligations.