Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika would today meet with airline operators under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).
‘New Telegraph’ learnt that the meeting is not unconnected with the state of the aviation and ways to get out of the woods.
An airline chief, who confided in our reporter, said the meeting was scheduled for 10am. But the source did not disclose the venue.
It was learnt that Sirika is disturbed by the events in the past few weeks that is capable of crippling the industry, particularly the problem that could put Aero Contractors out of operations.
Nigerian airlines are faced with challenges of sourcing foreign exchange at relatively higher rates, forcing them to abandon their airplanes abroad after maintenance due to high cost of checks.
In Nigeria, commercial banks, which are profit oriented and without huge financial base are reluctant to lend such long-term loans to airlines and this has hampered air transport sector in the country.
The situation is not helped with the risks association with air transport in the country. So lack of adequate funding has led to the short life span of many airlines, in addition to bad business plan and technical failure, it has also led to the many air crashes suffered by airlines.
Also worrisome to the carriers is perennial scarcity of JET A1, otherwise known as aviation fuel and multiple charges by the agencies, especially from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Nigeria imports its Jet A1. But, given the collapse in the value of the Nigerian naira in recent months and given the scarcity of foreign currency, importers have struggled to source enough products to meet local demand.