Chidoka: Fuel scarcity crippling aviation sector investments

Minister of Aviation, Mr. Osita Chidoka, yesterday lamented the ongoing scarcity of avia­tion fuel in the country, saying the trend was taking a heavy toll on investments in the sec­tor.

Domestic flight operators in Nigeria have slashed scheduled daily flights by more than 70 per cent in the last two weeks owing to scarcity of aviation fuel in the last two weeks.

While Arik Air alone has openly declared the loss of about N200 milion so far since the fuel crisis started, there are, however, fears within the industry that none of the domestic carriers might pose a profit at the year end owing to the devastating im­pact the scarcity is having on the overall industry.

Chidoka who spoke while inaugurating the Common User Passenger Processing System (CUPPS) at the domestic ter­minal of the Murtala Moham­med Airport, Lagos, commonly called MMA2, said the poor supply of fuel had also led to a diminishing quality of service delivery by domestic airlines, a sad development, which he noted could reduce patronage of domestic flights by Nigerians with devastating consequences on the profitability of airlines, airport owners, ground handling firms and the nation’s GDP.

“Fuel scarcity is impacting the aviation sector and it is becom­ing a big problem in getting qual­ity service delivery by airlines,” said Chidoka. “But we need improved service delivery to in­crease the volume of passengers in order to increase revenue for airlines and the airports and the ground handling firms as well as the country’s GDP,” the Minister said.

He, however, lauded Bi- Courtney Services Limited, the core investor at the MMA2 airport, saying the firm had set a pace for other federal and state government owned airports in the country to emulate in terms of the quality of service and in­frastructure it has put on ground to support airlines and passenger traffic.

The CUPPS is a self check-in kiosk mounted on several spots at the MMA2 airport, which would enable passengers to check in individually and board flights without any recourse to the long queues at airline check-in counters.

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