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Domestic airlines demand jet fuel import licence, forex

Domestic airlines under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria, on Monday, demanded that the Federal Government should allow AON procure the requisite licence for the importation and distribution of aviation fuel, popularly called JetA1.

AON also asked the government to provide a dedicated support line for domestic airlines to access foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to enable the carriers to meet their obligations to air travellers.

They made the call during a courtesy visit on the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, at his office in Abuja.

The President, AON, Abdulmunaf Yunusa, said the purpose of the visit was to brief the minister about the challenges in the sector and proffer solutions, as well as congratulate him on his recent appointment as minister.

The association made a presentation to the minister, where the Chief Executive Officer, Top Brass Aviation, Capt. Roland Iyayi, said there was an urgent need to ensure the adequate supply of aviation fuel in the sector.

He said, “There is an urgent need to facilitate the liberalisation, procurement and distribution of JetA1 nationwide and allow AON to procure requisite licence for product importation and distribution and also immediate review of all industry taxes, fees and charges to determine applicability in line with cost recovery model.”

He said airline operators were the end users and should be granted permission to penetrate the market to source aviation fuel and distribute, stressing that AON had been denied that right for a long time.

Iyayi, who did the presentation for the group, also told Keyamo that the issue of forex had become a major challenge for the operators.

“We call on the Federal Government to establish and provide a dedicated support line for domestic airline operators to have unfettered access of foreign exchange through the Central Bank of Nigeria at the official I & E window in support of local and international transactions,” he stated.

Responding, Keyamo said the challenge of forex had been lingering, but promised his guests that “the ministry will liaise with the CBN to see how operators can get forex at a single-digit interest rate of 1.5 to two per cent as requested.”

He then charged the operators to always ensure the safety of their airlines, stressing that this was key to the success of the aviation industry.

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