CHAIRMAN House Committee on Aviation, Honorable Nnaji Nnolim has again expressed apprehension at the hike in airfare calling on operators to bring down these fares as well as on government to make their operating environment considerate by providing foreign exchange buffers and other incentives to motivate them.
He made this known while reacting to questions on airfare during an oversight of the new Chinese funded Murtala Muhammed International Airport Terminal where he said that every cost operators in Nigeria incur are in foreign currency which also pushes the ticket up.
It is no longer news that $1 is equivalent of about N500 on the open market and this has affected airlines cost especially as they are unable to access the forex to enable them meet safety critical demands like maintenance, procurement of spares and the likes.
Currently charges for a 45minute to one hour flight ranges between N80, 000 and N100, 000 across routes and it is still expected to climb with the Yuletide around the corner and many people preferring air travel because of the security challenges.
Speaking on fares he said,“It is a concern that the people that voted us in, our people are paying huge amount for travel. Definitely considering the air is the safest means of travel in Nigeria but considering we believe there is need the airline operators bring down these charges or fix it, but on their side too, they have complaints on a lot of charges on them, they have complaints on no access for forex everything about the air industry is forex from anything that they are buying A –Check, B-Check, C-Check is forex, they do it outside the country.”
“So, it involves foreign exchange and they complain they do not have access to foreign exchange so I believe also why we are trying to call them to order to look at this we are also asking Federal government to see how they can support the industry.
“They need to support the industry the issue of zero VAT, they got a presidential order on zero vat and tax for commercial aircraft and spares but they still complained that up till today they still pay for it so the Federal government needs to look into their complaint. If the implement the zero charges of VAT and spares I believe their charges will automatically come down I believe with access to foreign exchange their prices will also come down too as we are asking the airlines to come down with their prices, we are also asking federal government to support them so that both parties will balance for the people,” Nnaji said.