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Panic as aviation fuel exceeds N400 per litre, highest price in six years

The price of aviation fuel, popularly known as Jet A1, has risen above N400 per litre — the highest price in the last six years. With…

The price of aviation fuel, popularly known as Jet A1, has risen above N400 per litre — the highest price in the last six years. With the new price, the product, which was sold at N120 per litre six years ago, would have increased by over 233 per cent since then.

This has fueled fears of an increase in airfares as findings revealed that most airlines have concluded plans to increase the base fare.

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Due to this development, the cheapest ticket on airlines’ fare, according to the operators, would be jacked up “to reflect the skyrocketing operating cost which has put pressure on the airlines’ sustainability.”

Findings by our correspondent revealed that as of Wednesday, a litre of Jet fuel was sold at N375 in Lagos, N395 in Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Uyo and N407 in Kano.

The same Jet fuel was sold between N310 and N330 in November last year, depending on the location, amidst complaints from operators.

In 2021, experts predicted the jet fuel reaching an all-time high of N400, which, however, came to pass this week.

It would be recalled that Jet fuel was sold at N120 – N160 per litre in 2006, but the cost has skyrocketed as the exchange rate also grows.

As of today, a dollar is exchanged for 415 at the interbank rate and N570 at the parallel market while the Jet A1 is being imported into the country.

An airline operator, who spoke with our correspondent, said it is impossible for airlines to break even with the current fuel price which has eaten deeply into their operating cost.

“Yes, Jet A1 is now N400 plus and this is adding to the cost of operation. The Federal Government has to do something about it otherwise there is no operation that can sustain it,” an airline official said.

The Chairman/CEO of United Nigeria Airlines, Chief Obiora Okonkwo, said when the airline had its inaugural flight in 2021, fuel was sold at N190 per litre on a one-hour ticket of N23,000.

He said the high cost of fuel was blamed on the foreign exchange scarcity by marketers who import the product into the country.

Okonkwo said, “Any airline selling tickets for N24,000 must be subsidising the ticket, which is not sustainable. The airline would have to increase its fare marginally in line with the current realities.”

An aviation fuel marketer, in a chat with our correspondent, said, “Aviation fuel has been deregulated. What is the exchange rate now? You too can do the calculation. It is simple logic.”

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