By Kenneth Ehigiator
The federal government is to meet with independent oil marketers over recent increase in the price of aviation fuel or JET-A1.
Oil marketers recently hiked the price of the product to N90 and above, depending on which part of the country it is being sourced, from the less than N70 per litre the product was sold, following the intervention of the House of Representativesâ€™ Committee on Aviation.
Aviation Minister, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba, who dropped hint of the meeting in Lagos, said the interface had become imperative to stabilise the price of the product, with a view to making things easy for airline operators.
â€œThe issue of prices of aviation fuel is a very complex one.Â We are planning a meeting with marketers to bring down the prices.Â We are also working with the House of Representatives to see how the prices can come down.
â€œDonâ€™t forget, it was the House of Representativesâ€™ Committee on Aviation that intervened when the price was first brought down by marketers.Â We are hoping to work with them again to resolve the problem,â€ Omotoba said.
He did not, however, disclose when the meeting would hold, but noted that falling aviation fuel prices would not bring down air fares.
He dismissed the argument that high air fares was due to rising prices of aviation fuel, stressing that what leads to high fares were other operational costs, such as maintenance, landing and parking charges and insurance, amongst others.
Airline operators had appealed repeatedly to government to come to their rescue in bringing down the price of JET-A1, arguing that the high cost of fuel was eroding their bottomline through increasing cost of operation.
The minister also spoke of governmentâ€™s resolve to wield the big stick on debtors of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
According to him, the agency will not be able to improve airport infrastructure and facilities, if it was constantly owed operators and other airport users.
He explained that where government was ready to condone debts owed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and its Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) counterpart, it would not tolerate FAAN being owed because of the need to develop airports in the country to international standard.