Hardships begin to trail the operations of airline operators in the country under the current forex regime of the President Mohammadu Buhari with every indication that the Nigerian aviation sector may soon be thrown into serious crisis.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the body of airline operators in the country, has accused the Federal Government of crippling their operations with the new policy, which it described as a lethal therapy that may soon send the domestic carriers into the doldrums.
AON accused the current government of favouring their foreign airline counterpart against them, noting that continued operations of the domestic airline can only be salvaged by a prompt oxygenation of the sector by the administration.
The group, in a release signed by its Chairman, Nogie Meggison, stressed that Nigerian Government should, as a matter of urgency, address the failure to make forex available to domestic airlines in the interest of safety and avoidance of collapse to the air transport system.
Meggison noted that this is necessary as the maintenance of aircraft is foreign based and hinged on foreign exchange
“Aviation is a pivot of the national economy that not only facilitates the movement of people and goods than any other mode of transportation but also ensures the ease of doing business by making it possible to transact different businesses in several locations in a single day.
“This is made possible by Nigerian Carriers who despite operating in a difficult environment still manage to keep the wheels of the economy rolling and continue to provide jobs for a teeming Nigerian population.
“It is no longer news that airlines in Nigeria charge very competitive fares in local currency but have to carry out numerous operational activities including maintenance, and purchase of spare parts in foreign currency (Dollars) thereby adding to the already unbearable burden the airlines have to carry on a regular basis.
“And the current forex constraint being faced by airlines has further exacerbated the situation and threatening to cripple airline operations in the country.”
By Gboyega Adeoye