Lagos and Abuja — Worried about the present challenge being faced by airline operators following the hike in the price of aviation fuel, the House of Representatives will today meet with the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari; the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Shuaibu Nuhu; Chairmen of Committees on Aviation, Petroleum Downstream and Upstream, Jet A1 marketers and Airline Operators.
Also yesterday, a major development occurred in the aviation industry as Nigerian airlines namely: Air Peace, Azman Air, United Nigeria Airline, Arik Air, Aero Contractors and Max Air announced an alliance called the ‘Spring Alliance’, to mutually support one another’s operations in order to provide better service to passengers.
The House of Representatives also directed oil marketers to make Jet AI fuel immediately available to airlines and discontinue the policy of upfront cash payment by airlines.
The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion, ‘on the need to investigate the sudden scarcity and high cost of aviation fuel,’ sponsored by the Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji at plenary yesterday.
Moving the motion, Nnaji noted that the current crisis in Eastern Europe has created so much global tension and has raised the cost of crude oil to over $125 per barrel at the international market, spiking the prices of all petroleum products.
He further noted that Nigeria imports 100 per cent of Jet A1 (Aviation fuel) used by airlines in its flight operations and its astronomical increase could impede airlines’ services.
The lawmaker while expressing concerns that the local oil marketers were demanding upfront cash payment before fueling aircraft, warned that if urgent steps were not taken to ameliorate these challenges, airlines and passengers would continue to suffer several consequential economic and travel crises that might lead to total shutdown of air transport services.
He said: “This unprecedented increase in the prices of all petroleum products was not taken into consideration in view of the fact that about a year ago, Jet Al was selling for N 190 per litre. Further acknowledges that as at yesterday, 08 March, 2022, Jet Al was selling for above N600 per litre and it is not readily available.
“Concerned that the local oil marketers are demanding upfront cash payment before fueling aircraft; observes that if urgent and immediate steps are not taken to ameliorate these challenges mentioned above, airlines and passengers will continue to suffer several consequential economic and travel crises that might lead to total shutdown of air transport services.”
Nigerian Airlines Form Alliance to Improve Their Service to Passengers
Air Peace, Azman Air, United Nigeria Airline, Arik Air, Aero Contractors and Max Air announced the alliance called the ‘Spring Alliance’, to mutually support one another’s operations in order to provide better service to passengers.
The airlines signed the alliance in Lagos on Tuesday and vowed to work together by engaging in interline collaboration to protect their operations and improve service delivery to passengers.
The objective of the alliance is curb flight delays among the six partners, give one another technical support and also ensure that passengers are airlifted by any of the members, no matter, which airline’s ticket the passengers have.
For example, if Arik Air flight operating from Port Harcourt to Lagos suffered bird strike, instead of waiting for the airline to deploy another aircraft, any of the airlines that is a member of the alliance would airlift Arik Air passengers to Lagos.
The operators said such cooperation had sustained many airlines in the world, stressing that they needed to key into it to ensure their survival.
Speaking on the alliance, the Chairman of Air Peace and Vice-president of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Allen Onyema, said the Spring Alliance was for the benefit of the passengers who fly with the six airlines.
He said globally there are many of such alliances, which airlines key into, listing such to include the Star Alliance, One World and many others.
According to him, airlines key into such alliance for the benefit of both the passengers and the airlines.
“So, today, in Nigeria, the 8th day of March 2022, some Nigerian airlines, notably, Air Peace, Azman Air, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Max Air & United Nigeria have decided to come together to form what we call the Spring Alliance.
“The name of this alliance is Spring Alliance. We decided to come together to do this for the benefit of the flying public that use the opportunities provided by these airlines to fly.
“By this alliance our passengers are protected whenever there is a problem with one airline. It is our response to the complaints of the flying public, so this alliance will enable us to satisfy them. With this alliance and what we are going to be doing henceforth, the flying public will reap the benefit.
“For example if Air Peace has a tech issue on any of its aircraft, the passengers of Air Peace need not to be delayed, if any member of this alliance is going to the same destination, all we need to do is move the passengers to other airline, a member of the alliance, at no further cost to the passenger.”
Onyema described the initiative as noble and a revolutionary one in Nigeria’s aviation sector. He urged other airlines to tap into the benefits offered by the alliance by joining.
He said the Spring Alliance was not limited to Nigerian airlines alone, as other African airlines may wish to join, adding that the alliance originated from Nigeria, but is open to the world.
“This will help aviation, it will help the sustainability of our operations, it will help the cause of the flying public to experience seamless commuting whenever they choose to. So we are hereby putting our signatories to these papers today, launching this idea that will revolutionise Nigeria’s scheduled flight operations for the better”, Onyema said.
To the Managing Director, Aero Contractors, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood, the formation of the Spring Alliance was a historic move, adding that it prioritises the satisfaction of passengers.
“History has been made here today in Nigeria, and this is the first time something like this is happening in Nigeria’s aviation industry. You can see that the airline operators are fully committed to making sure that our passengers are satisfied.
“As we say, for every challenge, you see an opportunity and probably this is the time that we have seen an opportunity whereby the airlines can come together, work together and have a healthy competition; whereby at the end of the day, we make our passengers happy and safe.
“Safety is the number one priority and this is what we stand for and coming together, like my colleagues rightly said, you find out that all these delays are caused by problems that passengers do not know and we just carry them from one point to another on time and make sure that everything goes smoothly.
“We are asking passengers to give their utmost cooperation, we are doing our best, it is a challenging situation we find ourselves but yes, we are all in this together and we are hopefully coming out together,” Mahmood said.
The CEO of United Nigeria Airline, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, said the alliance would revolutionise flight services for the Nigerian flying public, as passenger satisfaction is the major objective behind the formation of the alliance.
According to Okonkwo, “Today, history has been made at this landmark event. The Nigerian scheduled operators coming together to sign this all-important document. This, no doubt, will revolutionise the service and provision for the typical traveller in Nigeria. It is all about the passenger.
“There’s no doubt that Nigerian airlines are going through some situations and part of the ways to react to this is to have the passengers in mind. It is simply thinking out-of-the-box.
“On this note, we are thanking the passengers and we continue to appeal to them to show some understanding and to continue to show us love, knowing that we are in this together, that the airlines will continue to do anything possible within their strength to ensure efficiency of our services and then thanking the government that has been showing some understanding,” he added.