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Nnolim Nnaji

Air fare hike: Nnaji warns of consequences on nation’s economy; calls for FG’s intervention

CHAIRMAN, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji has warned of dire consequences of the current hike in domestic travel air fare on the overall economy of the nation if not urgently addressed.

Honourable Nnaji in a statement issued in Abuja urged the Federal Government to immediately address the challenges of the domestic airline operators which he said could be responsible for the recent astronomical rise in airfares.

Domestic airfare as at last weekend rose to between N80, 000 and N100, 000 for an hour flight and there is the likelihood of further hike if care is not taken.

The airlines had last month complained of lack of access to foreign exchange at official rate, high cost of aviation fuel and the refusal of the Nigeria Customs and Excise to honour President Muhammed Buhari’s Executive Order exempting duties on aircraft importation and spares.

The operators equally listed high interest rate on loans, multiple taxations, and multiple entry points granted foreign airlines among others as major challenges affecting them.

These prompted the House Committee on Aviation to address a press conference last week urging Federal Government to urgently direct the Customs to obey the executive order of Mr. President which granted airline operators waiver on commercial aircraft importation and spares.

The committee further suggested that a forex window similar to that offered to foreign airlines be created for the domestic airlines to enable them access foreign exchange at official rate.

Honourable Nnaji observed that air transportation remained the vehicle that drives other businesses and therefore should not be neglected.

He further noted that the security situation in the country at the moment has placed higher demands on the air transportation as the safest means of travel and reiterated the need to immediately rescue the industry from imminent collapse.

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