The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has begged domestic airlines to shed the planned shutdown of flights operation from Monday over astronomical hike in Jet-A1 price from N190 to N700 per litre.
Sirika made the appeal in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Affairs on Saturday in Lagos.
The Business Intelligence (TBI Africa) recalls that the President, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) Capt. Yunusa Abdulmunaf on Friday threatened to shutdown flights operation due to the rise in the price of JetA1 in the country.
Abdulmunaf said unfortunately, the cost of aviation fuel had continued to rise unabated thereby creating huge pressure on the sustainability of operations and financial viability of the airlines.
The minister in a statement said the airlines should consider the multiplier effect of shutting down operations, on Nigerians and global travellers, in taking their business-informed decisions and actions.
He said: “The attention of the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has been drawn to reports that the nation’s air transportation system will be disrupted as from Monday.
“This follows the threats by airline operators to shut down operations as a result of rising cost of Jet A1, otherwise known as aviation fuel.
“As the ministry charged with the industry, we are greatly concerned about the difficulties being faced by the airlines in procuring aviation fuel which has resulted in spiraling costs in Air transportation in the immediate past.
“We also acknowledge that the airlines are in the business to make profits, while servicing the very critical sector that is not only the preferred mode of transport for most Nigerians, but also the main international gateway to the nation.
“Unfortunately the issue of fuel supply is not within the purview of the ministry so the much it can do in the present situation is to engage with agencies, institutions and individuals in positions.
“This is to provide succour to the airlines. This is already being done by the relevant team led by the minister.”
Sirika assured Nigerians, especially stakeholders that the Buhari administration remains stoic in its commitment to the creation and sustenance of an environment that promotes the growth of the aviation industry.
He said the president was committed to the development of the industry where major players like the airlines could operate in a profitable and competitive market.