From Uche Usim, Abuja
Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, has appealed to local airlines to reconsider the planned shutdown of operations tomorrow, saying that the development has disastrous consequences on the economy as a whole.
Sirika in a statement issued yesterday said that high-level engagements with airlines, oil marketers and other stakeholders were on to address the scathing price of Jet A1 (aviation fuel).
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He emphasized that the matter was outside his purview, but will continue to engage all those concerned.
Sirika said: “As the Ministry charged with the management of the industry, we are greatly concerned about the difficulties being faced by the airline operators in the country in procuring aviation fuel which has resulted in spiraling costs in Air transportation in the immediate past.
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“We also acknowledge that the airline operators 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 and so the most it can do in the present situation is to engage with agencies, institutions and individuals in positions to provide succour to the airlines. This is already being done by the relevant team led by the Honourable Minister.”
The minister also appealed to the airline operators, even in the difficult situation, to consider the multiplier effect of shutting down operations, on Nigerians and global travellers, in taking their business-informed decisions and actions.
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The local operators on the platform of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) threatened to ground operations from tomorrow, citing the scarce and costly price of Jet A1, which recently hit N700/litre.