The federal government has said that global COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for the spike in aviation airfare.
The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
On bailout to Nigerian airlines, Nuhu said it was a policy matter being handled by the Federal Ministry of Aviation under the direction of the Minister of Aviation.
“As regards ticket prices, yes ticket prices have gone up astronomically over the last week or so. That is one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The aviation, tourism and travel industry is one of the most devastated industries by COVID-19.
“Because we had a shutdown for several months, the airlines were not making money and there are fixed costs that they have to deal with, they have to maintain the aircraft and unfortunately most of these aircraft are maintained outside the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has appealed to the Senate to incorporate President Muhammadu Buhari’s duty waiver on commercial aircraft and spare parts into the Finance Bill presently before the National Assembly.
The operators’ vice president, Allen Onyema, made the appeal yesterday when executives of the airline operators paid a visit to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, at the National Assembly.
They were led by the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.
Onyema, who is also the chairman of Air Peace, lamented that the Nigerian Customs Service had reintroduced the duties on imported spare parts for aircraft even when the president had not revoked his order taken at the Federal Executive Council.
Responding, the Senate president assured that their demand would be looked into.
Lawan said though the country was facing difficult times and is in need of revenue, the drive for revenue should not stifle businesses.