By Adaku Walter
The House of Representatives has invited critical stakeholders in the aviation industry over the lingering unavailability of fuel currently crippling air travel in the country.
Aviation fuel, also known as Jet A-1 currently sell between N590 to N625 when available. It is however difficult for airlines to get the commodity presently, which has led to flight disruptions across various domestic carriers since the beginning of the week.
Air Peace, Arik Air and a host of other airlines have come out to apologise to their passengers following delays and cancellations, stressing the astronomical hike in the price of aviation fuel as the reason.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House resolved to summon the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) Mele Kyari, Oil marketers, and Airline Operators of Nigeria, (AON) for meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ahmed Idris Wase and the Chairmen of Committees on Aviation, Petroleum Upstream and Downstream for a meeting on Thursday to seek a solution to the crisis.
The development was sequel to a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, in a motion titled: “Urgent Need to Investigate/intervene on the Sudden Scarcity and High Cost of Aviation Fuel which has Created an Existential Threat to Airline Operations and Requires Immediate Intervention by The Federal Government.”
Presenting the motion before the House, Nnaji observed that the current crisis in Eastern Europe has created so much global tension and has raised the cost of crude oil to over $125.
He pointed out that the situation has been worsened by the fact that, “Nigeria imports Jet-A1, (aviation fuel) used by airlines for their flight operations and its astronomical hike can impede on airlines’ services”.
Nnaji equally disclosed that the product which was sold for N190 a litre in 2021 had risen to above N600 a litre, adding, “to make matter worse, the oil marketers are alleged to be demanding for upfront cash payments from the airlines”.
The Aviation Committee Chairman, however, noted that if urgent steps were not immediately taken to ameliorate the situation, airlines and passengers would continue to suffer several consequential economic and travel crises that might lead to a total shutdown of air transport services.