Aviation Fuel Importation Drops By 27% To N358bn

The import of kerosine-type jet fuel declined by 26.58 percent to N358.08 billion in the first nine months of 2023, highlighting the aviation sector’s lack of foreign cash.

According to National Bureau of Statistics statistics, this represents a N129.65bn decrease from the N487.73bn spent in the same time in 2022. Jet fuel cost N70.16 billion in the first quarter of 2023, N143.96 billion in the second quarter, and N143.96 billion in the third quarter.

The amount spent on jet fuel in the first quarter of 2022 was N292.56 billion. It declined to N102.14 billion in Q2, then to N93.03 billion in Q3. When they met with the new Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, domestic airlines recently lamented the lack of access to foreign exchange.

The airlines under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria asked the Federal Government to allow them to procure the requisite licence for the importation and distribution of aviation fuel, and dedicated access to FX from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The President, AON, Abdulmunaf Yunusa, 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 an immediate review of all industry taxes, fees and charges to determine applicability in line with cost recovery model.”

He added, “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.”

This has led to a spike in airfares as operators’ source for FX in the parallel market putting pressure on their cost of operation.

The spokesperson of AON, Prof Obiora Okonkwo, stated that “The foreign exchange and aviation fuel costs were responsible for over 99 per cent of aviation components.”

He added, “The actual or reasonable cost should be higher in the actual sense. There is no doubt that it will put pressure on the operation funds because it will require more money in exchange and everything in aviation is 99 per cent and a half per cent foreign components.

“So, we are hoping that the government would find a good reason to come up with some measures that would mitigate that by creating access to capital for the operators.”

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