The imminent threat to down tool on Friday this week, as a result of high cost of Aviation fuel (Jet – A1) may have been averted with an intervention from the Senate Committee on Aviation, following an emergency interface with Airline Operators in Nigeria.
The Airline Operators had on Monday at an interface with members of the Aviation Committee in the House of Representatives , threatened to stop operations within 72 hours if the cost of Aviation fuel is not urgently brought down to N400 per litre as against N670.
Alternatively they also requested for bailout from the Federal Government to cushion the unfriendly operating environment.
Barely a day after, a another interface with Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West), the operators led by their Chairman, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, repeated the threat by declaring that if nothing is done to save the stressful situation , Airline Operators will withdraw their services by Friday morning.
Alhaji Sarina who spoke along with the Chairman, United Nigeria Airline, Mr Obiora Okonkwo said they cannot cope with the high cost of operation worsened by upsurge in the price of Aviation fuel.
According to him , “based on the cost component of Airline operation in Nigeria today, actual price for ticket of one hour flight is N150,000 which is being subsidised to N50,000 per persenger”
“We are overburdened by this ticket subsidy and heavily indebted to Banks with consequences of running out of business if required actions are not taken ” he said.
Apparently worried by the threat and pathetic situation at hand, Senator Adeyemi passionately appealed to the Airline Operators to give the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly few days to wade into the matter through interface with the Federal Government.
He said the issue will be raised on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Wednesday for the purpose of making the Federal Government to give the operators , expected bail out.
“Your threat to stop flying from Friday this week, is too tough an order. Aviation is life and there is no way the Senate and government generally, will allow such to happen.
“Your complaints are genuine and will surely be looked into. The senate would intervene to ensure that the airline operators carry out their activities with minimal pains.
“The senate president and all senators are very worried by the threat from the operators and the Senate would not keep quiet over the matter.
“We would ensure that the executive do the needful to release bail out to the airline operators it pays all of us to make the aviation fuel very robust.
“Please give us some time for the Senate to see what we can achieve. So we want you to extend your ultimatum to down tool. Er would ensure that you get the required palliative so that there won’t be crisis”, he pleaded .
At the meeting were representative of the Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) , Captain Chris Najomo, Secretary Airline Operators, Mr Zamani Solomon etc.