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A significant number of airplanes operating across the country are currently grounded due to the crisis rocking Nigeria’s aviation sector, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said.
Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu, who disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, said the fleet of aircraft were grounded until their owners carried out adequate maintenance on them.
Nuhu’s statement confirmed the report released on June 30, 2022 by Ch-aviation, a global agency with database of airlines in the world, that only 44 aircraft were operating in Nigeria, while 79 were grounded at the time.
In his address at the stakeholders event, the NCAA boss stated that issues around inaccessibility of foreign exchange, hike in aviation fuel and the devaluation of the naira had worsened the fortunes of airlines and agencies in the sector.
He stated that the ongoing audit of airlines and other players in the sector by NCAA showed the precarious financial state of businesses in the industry.
Nuhu said, “When I say the industry, it also includes the agencies in the sector. We also suffer from the same issues you (airlines) suffer. Issues of revenue, foreign exchange, we all suffer.
“The NCAA has started the process of conducting the financial performance and status audits of the industry, starting with the airlines and we’ve done five so far and it makes us get the very best picture.
“We can see the difficulties and the challenges the airlines are having. We are all aware of the astronomical increase in the cost of JetA1 (aviation fuel). The international price is increasing, at the same time the naira is devalued. So it is double jeopardy.”
He added, “Even the foreign exchange is not readily available and the airlines are facing difficulties in getting it to do their transactions for trainings, maintenance, spare parts, etc.
“So a significant number of fleet in Nigeria is grounded, awaiting maintenance. We are all aware and we are not insensitive to the position of the industry.”
The NCAA helmsman noted that based on these challenges, the aviation agencies, especially the civil aviation authority, had been very flexible with the operators in order to get across the prevalent difficult situation in the sector.
Nuhu, however, stressed that the crisis in the sector would not be allowed to tamper with aviation safety measures that must be upheld by all airlines.
“It is important that this financial difficulties that the airlines are facing and have been managing have not translated into technical and safety issues,” he stated.
“We have seen a bit of the trend and it is quite worrisome and we must put an immediate stop to them. That is why we have been discussing and giving some sort of waivers to the industry so that we can cope with this.”Follow us on social media