BusinessDay

Prioritise aviation fuel refining to reduce air fares, experts tell FG

Players in the Nigerian aviation industry have called on the Federal Government to prioritise local refining of Jet A1 (aviation fuel) in a bid to stem the continuous rise of the price of the product in the country, saying this will help to reduce air fares.

The government was also asked to provide special funding to the aviation industry in order to address the issues of foreign exchange and other challenges facing organisations in the sector.

Speaking on Wednesday at the opening of the 51st Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference organised by the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) organised with the theme: ‘Energy Crisis and The Aviation Industry: A Quest for Sustainable Growth’ in Ibadan, Oyo State, Anthony Kila, the Chairman of the occasion lamented that the failure of the government to refine the Jet A1 product locally was negatively affecting the economy.

Kila insisted that the aviation industry should be seen as an essential infrastructure by the government, insisting that aviation should not be treated as elitist.

Read also: Incentives needed to increase sustainable aviation fuel production globally – IATA

He explained that apart from telecommunications industry, aviation was the next to connect humans and cargo, maintaining that the government should not allow the energy crisis to stunt growth in the sector.

Kila emphasised that the more passengers that patronise the sector, the more revenues for the players in the industry and the country at large.

He added: “We should create an aviation sector that is able to create movement for commerce. The issue of energy crisis should not be allowed in the industry. If we want to make aviation industry to be viable, we should look at commerce.

“The government can look at establishing a bank of aviation, which will attract other players into the sector, especially investors. Aviation leaders should come together and ensure aviation fuel is refined in the country.” Kila also craved more recognition for ATCs in the country, saying they play critical roles in ensuring safety on the ground and in the air.

Also, Fola Akinkuotu, the immediate past Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), said that as long as aviation fuel is imported into the country, its price and airfares would continue to skyrocket.

Akinkuotu lamented that barely three months ago, one-way ticket in the business class to Abuja from Lagos was barely N50, 000, but the same ticket now sells for N150,000 today.

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