Domestic airlines are set to lose some of their aircraft over the struggle to raise enough foreign exchange to run checks and conduct comprehensive maintenance of their fleets overseas.
Naija News learned that aeroplanes flown abroad would be forced to remain in various maintenance facilities until the airlines can pay for their repairs and subsequent return to service in Nigeria.
According to The Punch, any aircraft that develops a fault beyond A and B checks, which can be done in Nigeria, will be parked.
Also, any aircraft that is due for a major check, such as the C-check, which is only carried out overseas at the moment, would be parked.
In a chat with reporters, the Group Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings, Bankole Bernard, said the depletion of aircraft would further deepen the crisis in the aviation industry as airlines are losing seats.
Bernard stated that the aircraft depletion has given rise to high demand, high airfares, flight delays and cancellations.
He stated that the situation was made worse by the high cost of aviation fuel, which had risen to over N800 per litre and might hit N1,000 per litre at any moment unless there was an urgent intervention.
Benard, however, warned that airfares might continue to rise as long as the naira continued to depreciate amidst forex scarcity.
He said, “The fact is that the cost of tickets would still soar higher than what we are experiencing at the moment because several things act as determining factors. Everything that has to do with air transport is dollar-denominated. So, if it is dollar-denominated, how can we ensure business success for our people?
“That is what we should be thinking about. Someone told me recently that a flight to Maiduguri is now about N400,000 and I said that makes a lot of sense. It is either you want to fly or you go by the road where you may be kidnapped. It is not the airlines’ fault that they are charging that amount of money, but it is the reality on the ground.”