The Federal Government of Nigeria says it is actively exploring strategies to mitigate the rising airfare prices in the country, according to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo.
During a recent address in Abuja, Keyamo expressed the government’s commitment to implementing comprehensive measures to alleviate the burden on travellers.
Keyamo emphasized the need to address various factors contributing to high airfare prices, including the exchange rate and other issues within the aviation sector.
He said, “We will try all we have to do, not only the dollar or exchange issue but within the sector and other surrounding issues within the aviation sector, to force down prices.”
The Minister highlighted the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of Nigeria’s aviation industry.
He discussed the potential benefits of facilitating access to favourable leasing arrangements and loans for local airlines.
Keyamo noted that local airlines need help from Nigerian banks to secure loans at competitive rates, making it difficult for them to compete internationally.
“Our banks cannot give loans to our operators at single digits. Our local airlines cannot compete with loans at 26 per cent.
“So how do we do it? We need to go out of this country and worldwide to try and get extra for them to compete in those rules that our partners have allowed us to compete in,” Keyamo explained.
He emphasized the need for reciprocity in air traffic rights, suggesting that if foreign airlines have multiple slots in Nigeria, local airlines should have similar access to slots in foreign countries.
According to Keyamo, this would foster competitiveness and reduce airfare prices.
Addressing speculations about the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) owing foreign airlines, Keyamo clarified that the amount owed was lower than speculated, and the CBN has cleared the backlog it owed to foreign airlines.
He explained that the other outstanding amounts were related to airline and commercial bank transactions.
Keyamo stressed the government’s commitment to supporting local airlines and enhancing their competitiveness, including negotiating favourable agreements and addressing challenges within the aviation sector.