The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said that the shortage of Jet A1 fuel is not peculiar to Nigeria alone and that the government is finding solution to resolving the crisis in the aviation sector.
Although the minister admitted that there are no immediate remedies to the challenges, he believes the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery in Lagos and local refining would solve the issues.
The crisis in the aviation sector has also been elevated by foreign exchange woes, but he stated that the federal government has doubled efforts to arrest the situation.
The minister said this while meeting with stakeholders including the Airline Operators Nigeria and the Central Bank.
In the last two weeks, two airlines, Aero Contractors and Dana Air have shutdown over their inability to meet up the challenges facing the industry and as well as funding their operations.
The airlines are lamenting the hike of aviation fuel from around N280 per litre to almost N1,000.
Aviation fuel accounts for 40 per cent of their cost, while regulatory charges also cut a chunk of their earnings.
Sirika in his speech acknowledged the difficulties faced by airlines operating in the country.
The minister said, “Energy crises is real and it is global. Today there is aviation fuel problem all over the world. From America to New Zealand. It is aggravating in Nigeria because we don’t produce the product.
“It is aggravated also because the foreign exchange is scarce in Nigeria and the source of earning the foreign exchange has also has dwindled.
“As we speak, the government is in the process of finding a permanent solution to this issue.”
Recently, airlines have either cancelled or rescheduled their flights over shortage of aircrafts.
Last Sunday, hundreds of air passengers were stranded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for hours.
Siriki reiterated that government had helped operators source 10,000 metric tonnes of Jet A1 fuel.
He said their was need for the “importation of the product at the appropriate price, accelerating the refurbishment of our refineries and also wait for the coming on stream of Dangote Refinery to boost supply of the product.
“So when you ask how soon, I wouldn’t know when Dangote will come on stream, I wouldn’t know how soon the refineries will be fixed. I wouldn’t know when imports would become sufficient. But the government is working towards all these to happen.”
The President, AON, Abdulmunaf Sarina, said, “The rate at which the dollar is escalating now is very alarming. Everyday, a difference of between N10 to N15 is added at the parallel market. Last week Monday, it was N610 but today it is N670 to one dollar.”