Barring any last-minute change, airline operators across the country may shut down operations in the next three days over the high cost of aviation fuel.
They argued that should the Federal Government refuse to intervene in cost of aviation fuel, they would be withdrawing their services in the next 72 hours.
The operators hinted at the possible strike action during their resumed meeting with oil marketers, the regulators, and the House of Representatives leadership on Monday.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that aviation fuel, also known as Jet A1, which sold for N190/litre and later N360/litre in January this year, rose to between N579 and N607/litre last week Tuesday.
Oil marketers, as well as airport officials, said the aviation fuel was sold for different prices across the nation’s airports.
Last week in Lagos, Jet A1 was sold for N579 per litre; Abuja N599, Port-Harcourt N599; and Kano N607. A few weeks ago, aviation fuel marketers had increased Jet A1 to about N450 per litre which forced the carriers to raise airfares by 100 per cent.
But, speaking on Monday through the Vice President, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Chief Allen Onyeama, the operators said that with the current cost of fuel, they cannot sustain their operations.
Onyeama said, “If they (oil marketers) don’t come down from their high horse, I am sorry to say that we have only three days of operation left.
“We know the importance of aviation to the economy. Currently, the average price per seat is N70, 000. We have not included the cost of insurance to that.
“All the Insurance companies in this country cannot insure one aircraft. So, we have to go outside the country to get insurance for our aircraft.
“We cannot continue to subsidise the industry. If we must continue to operate at this rate, then the average cost per ticket will be around N150, 000 and that will not be good for the economy.”
Article first published on the Punch Website