Alhaji Muneer Bankole, the Chief Executive Officer, Med-View Airline Plc, says the airline spent about N22 billion to procure aviation fuel in the last five years.
Bankole told newsmen on Sunday in Lagos that high cost of aviation fuel now posed a big challenge to the operations of domestic airline operators in Nigeria.
According to him, the scarcity and high cost of aviation fuel remains a big challenge to Nigerian airlines.
He said: “For instance, aviation fuel is presently being sold by marketers at N220 per litre in Lagos and N270 per litre in places like Maiduguri because some marketers don’t want to go there due to security issues.
“We had our Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) meeting recently; we looked at the fuel situation and we all agreed that we cannot continue this way.’’
Bankole said that in spite of the high cost of aviation fuel, the airline had not increased the cost of tickets on its domestic, regional and international routes.
The Med-View Airline’s chief executive officer said that the temporary suspension of its flight operations to Dubai and London-Gatwick, was another challenge faced by the airline.
He said that the decision was reached after Med-View returned the leased B-777-200 aircraft to the leasors, while its B767-300ER and B737-500 aircraft were currently undergoing cabin reconfiguration and maintenance respectively.
According to him, the airline will resume operations on both routes when three of its aircraft return by the end of May.
Bankole said: “The Hajj operation, the domestic operation, the regional operation and the international operation are sustainable routes for us.
“However, due to the return of the leased aircraft and another of our aircraft going through C-Check, we decided to consolidate on the domestic operation for now and we are flying about 98 per cent capacity.’’
He said that the four aircraft in Med-View Airline’s fleet were wholly bought and owned by the airline contrary to some recent reports in the media.
Bankole also said that the airline was indebted to service providers within and outside the country.
He said: “We do not owe any of our service providers; we work with Gatwick Airport Authority, Menzies Ground Handling, as well as the World Fuel and we do not owe them.
“As for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, what we have is a continuous business; it is normal in business to owe for services provided from time to time before reconciliation is carried out.’’
The Med-View Airline chief also said that the airline had recently carried out a rationalisation exercise which led to the sacking of not less than 52 workers cutting across pilots, cabin crew members and administrative staff.
Bankole said: “We had to make sure that it followed due process and ensured that all the affected staff were paid their entitlements.’’