The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has lamented the harsh business environment threatening their operations.
The airline operators, who are groaning over harsh operating conditions, have written the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) requesting approval to remove 5% fuel surcharge.
The AON also wrote another letter signed by its President, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa, directed to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), seeking an urgent review of the 90-day closure of Runway 18L of MMA, Lagos.
The group stated that the removal of the 5% fuel surcharge will help them to cushion the effect of the continuous increase in the price of Jet-A1 on airline operations in the country.
The airlines stressed that due to the ever-rising cost of Jet A1 the closure of the main domestic runway of MMA automatically adds an additional 10-15% more fuel costs per sector into and out of MMA.
This, it said, is based on the additional flight and taxi time incurred.
The airlines in a letter dated July 18, directed to NCAA Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said: “In addition to the crippling effect of intermittent shortages of Jet A-1, the price has risen from N420 per litre in February 2022 to over N780 today.
“This has greatly increased the operational cost of airlines by well over 130%, yet airlines are unable to increase fares and as well suffer from unavailability of foreign exchange to conduct their operations.
“In order to forestall a backlash and total shutdown of the system, airlines are hoping to resort to an introduction of a Fuel Surcharge of between 25% and 40% of NUC as a way of offsetting the additional burden brought about by increased fuel cost bearing in mind that jet fuel accounts for about 40% of total operational expenses.”
The AON called for immediate review of the decision that airlines are required to obtain approval for an initial three months before implementation of a fuel surcharge.
It sought a waiver of the demand that airlines pay an additional 5% on the Fuel Surcharge entirely separate from the 5% Ticket Sales Charge (TSC).
According to them, unless this is done, it will mean in effect that whatever is collected by the airlines as fuel surcharge to cushion the effect of the high fuel price will be taken away once again by NCAA.
“This in effect will amount to double jeopardy as airlines will be unable to offset the additional cost which the fuel surcharge is meant to address in the first place.
In another letter to FAAN, the airline operators said that a week after the closure of the runway, work had yet to begin on the runway and the move was causing “unsustainable additional operating costs” to airlines.
FAAN had on July 6 announced plans to complete the installation of CAT III Airfield Ground Lighting system on Runway 18L/36R.
It said that the project would begin on July 8, and was expected to last for 90 days.
Consequently, it said that Runway 18L/36R would be closed to flight operations during the time.
It, however, assured stakeholders that there would be no disruption, as all normal flight operations would be conducted through runway 18R/36L.
FAAN said that a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to this effect had already been published and disseminated accordingly.
It said the work was part of efforts aimed at improving safety and efficiency of flight operations at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
The letter, directed to the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, called on the FAAN boss to convene an urgent stakeholders’ consultation meeting, to review the closure of Runway 18L.
It said there was a need to enter into discussion with the users of the runway on a procedure for the project, that limits both the cost impact on airlines as well as disruption to normal flight operations.
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