Plane Crisis Continues as Airlines Fight for FX – Punch Newspapers | Jewelry Dukan

Domestic airlines could suffer from forced plane depletion after local carriers struggled to raise enough foreign exchange to carry out inspections and carry out extensive maintenance on their overseas fleets.

Given this recent development, aircraft being transported overseas would be forced to remain at various maintenance facilities until airlines are able to raise funds for their repairs and subsequent return to service in Nigeria.

As a result, all aircraft queuing for major controls such as the C-Check, which is currently only performed overseas, would be parked.

Also, any aircraft found to be in error beyond the A and B checks that can be performed in Nigeria will also be parked.

This will subsequently result in forced exhaustion of the operating aircraft unless more aircraft are brought into the country, and soon.

Industry experts say airlines are already losing seats, leading to high demand, high fares, flight delays and cancellations as the few available planes serve many flight schedules every day.

They said the situation was made worse by the high cost of aviation fuel, which had risen to over 800N per liter and could reach 1,000N per liter at any moment unless urgent intervention was made.

Finchglow Holdings Group Managing Director, Mr Bankole Bernard, warned that airfares could continue to rise as long as the naira continues to depreciate amid the FX tightening.

Speaking to journalists, Bankole said: “The fact is that the cost of tickets would still rise higher than what we are witnessing at the moment because several things act as decisive factors. Anything related to air travel is denominated in dollars. So when it’s in dollars, how do we ensure business success for our employees?

“We should think about that. Someone recently told me that a flight to Maiduguri is now around N400,000 and I said that makes a lot of sense. Either you want to fly or you drive on the road where you can get kidnapped. It’s not the airlines’ fault for charging so much money, but it’s the reality on the ground.”

A former CEO of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi who spoke to The punch said in a phone interview that the airline industry must act urgently to end the situation before it gets worse.

Noting that the aviation sector, like Nigeria’s economy, is struggling, he stressed the urgent need to manage the few resources available to the sector.

Sanusi said: “Most airlines have to take their planes abroad for heavy maintenance. This extensive maintenance is usually carried out at intervals of 18 to 24 months.

“It takes a lot of foreign exchange. Now, with the scarcity and cost of dollars, airlines might be forced to forego taking these planes overseas at times. Also, it may take longer to get the planes out of the country and then bring them back into the country.

“Well, what does that mean for the passengers? Of course, this leads to higher ticket prices, flight cancellation, which is also an unreliable schedule.”

Sanusi added: “That’s why I’m still preaching that we need a maintenance facility in the country and the reason we need it is because the airlines can afford it, or they can do it to our maintenance.” bring where they don’t have to pay anything exchange year.

“The airlines are struggling, everyone knows this, the whole country’s economy is struggling and the whole world’s economy is struggling, so we have to manage what we have with what few resources we have to run or continue the airline industry to grow to let.”

He further explained that the foreign airlines are also affected by this aircraft shortage in Nigeria.

“There will be a slight impact on the foreign airlines as the domestic airlines pick up a small or significant number of passengers from the international airlines and distribute them within the country, sometimes even within the region,” he said.

The former Aero boss added: “A capacity reduction or a reduction in frequencies into the country will definitely hit domestic airlines.

“Multiple destinations (by foreign airlines) to other parts of the country will definitely affect domestic airlines as they will lose a significant number of passengers that they would have spread across their own network.”

Sanusi warned that as long as the naira continues to depreciate and there are foreign exchange shortages, airfares could continue to rise.

He said: “The ticket price will continue to rise. This will be due to three main reasons; there could be more, but there are mainly three reasons. You mentioned the naira dollar exchange rate, which is one, and that’s a very important factor.

“Aviation fuel, which is also dependent on the dollar exchange rate, will affect the ticket price. But what people don’t understand and don’t want to mention is ourselves in the aviation industry. By that I mean the Paratatals and the service providers like the ground handling companies. We all need to come together and realize that we don’t need to overprice the ticket.”

This, he said, is because if tickets were overpriced, passenger numbers would drop as everyone would be affected, including regulators and the other service providers such as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, among others.

“Now FAAN, NCAA and the rest are also contributing to the high ticket prices. If we look at the airline debt as the NCAA currently states N42 billion and $7.8 million as airline debt. Of course, airlines will have to increase their tickets to pay off the debt that has been incurred,” Sanusi said.

A former chief executive of Nigeria’s Airspace Administration, Captain Roland Iyayi, also spoke about the impact of foreign exchange and how it might affect domestic airlines in terms of overseas aircraft maintenance, saying airline capacity is being reduced.

He said: “Ultimately there will be a shortage of capacity, reduced capacity in the industry and once that happens fares will go up because reduced capacity would mean fares for aircraft operations would go up and once fares go up, It is a doom-loop.”

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