UNITED Nigeria Airways Chairman, Chief Obiora Okonkwo has said because of the import of aviation in the nation’s economy, it would be prudent to grant the industry especially airlines special funding for foreign exchange access as almost all its cost is foreign exchange denominated.
The airline chairman in a briefing earlier today attributed 30-40% of operating cost of airlines to Jet A1 stressing further that aviation fuel also falls under forex as it is imported.
High Chief Obiora made these comments as United Nigeria Airways clocked one year in operations having airlifted no fewer than 260,000 passengers within the period stressing that the airline has created over 500 direct jobs and over a thousand indirect jobs.
The UNA chairman explained that despite the many challenges in the industry, there is a lot of potential to grow hence the reason why more airlines are seeking Air Operators Certificates( AOC) to be part of it.
On the call for special funding, High Chief Obiora said:
” Aviation fuel the way it is applied easily becomes 30-40% of the cost of operations…99% of aviation component is forex denominated..even the increase in fuel is due to forex because fuel is imported.”
“Special funding for foreign exchange access as aircraft operations needs immediate attention and if you have to go through the process of foreign exchange access and funding, you will have various numbers of Aircraft on ground ( AOG)
On new entrants planning to come into the industry he said:
” if everything goes the way it’s supposed to go we are not going to be talking about 9 million passengers but 50 million within our airspace. For new operators, you don’t start your business for the 9million passengers of today. They must have seen the future that if they survive the hard one or two years they are waiting for the glorious days of 50m passengers.
” So I want to believe they have every reason to want to come into the industry. May airlines can still come on and increase schedule. It’s healthy for the industry, our problem isn’t lack of passengers , it’s more of the other things we need to improve upon for efficient operations and passengers satisfaction.”