Domestic airliners have forecast a difficult operational year in 2016 owing to falling naira value and a life-threatening aviation fuel cost.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP at different occasions, the accountable manager, Dana Air, Mr Obi Mbanuzuo and the executive director, Technical Services, Medview Airline, Engineer Lookman Animashaun, unanimously stated that the falling naira value against the dollar which apparently infiltrates into the new year, puts airline business at difficult operational threshold.
“This is especially as airlines are global businesses; we do our aircraft maintenance with dollars, we buy parts with dollars, but we earn all our income in naira and the naira keeps falling against the dollar,” said Mbanuzuo.
The Dana Air boss who stated this while speaking with our correspondent in Ghana shortly after landing at the Kotoka Airport, Accra in Dana’s maiden Lagos-Accra flight, however expressed hope that the federal government would come up with interventional policies to help the airlines in the face of falling naira and increasing cost of Jet A1.
Also speaking with LEADERSHIP shortly before the airline’s inaugural Lagos-Kano-Jeddah flight on Thursday, Medview’s head of Technical Services, Animashaun, said aiding domestic airlines to acquire dollars at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) exchange rate for their many transactions as well as reducing the amount of Jet A1 (aviation fuel) would be the two major areas that airlines wanted the federal government to intervene.
According to him, the risks for the airlines in 2016 is more than doubled with the life-threatening rate of Jet A1 and ever dwindling value of the naira against the dollar.
Animashaun explained that the cost of aviation fuel and dwindled naira value have had an adverse effect on the domestic airlines whose earnings are only naira.
“Honestly, understand the situation of the federal government today, but the airlines are endangered with the current situation, so that is why it has become pertinent to ask that the government treat the airlines exclusively in area of sourcing dollars.
“You would observe that despite the skyrocketing value of the dollar against the naira, ticket prices have not increased and airlines are feeling the brunt.
“One of our major problem is that the industry is dollar-based; all the spares we procure are done so in dollars and we bring them in a daily basis and we also have to source for dollar to fund these things, “The federal government should help the industry by allowing them to access funds through the use of the CBN exchange rate for our transaction.”
Source : Leadership