Get Involved In Jet Fuel Availability, Caulcrick tells FG

Captain Samuel Caulcrick

 

 

Posted by Sade Williams

The Federal government has been urged to get involved in the provision and availability of aviation fuel, popularly known as Jet-A1, in a bid to save the airlines operational cost.

Former Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria,  Captain Samuel Caulcrick, made this call in an interview with reporters in Lagos recently.

According to him, if government can make special reserve for the Air Force, it should do same for the airlines in the new year.

”Also, when it comes to Jet A1, the government doesn’t want to get involved, but I think the government should get involved in Jet A1, not as an importer. The government has Jet A1 reserve for the Air Force because of security. So, the Air Force cannot rely on suppliers for Jet A1 to fly their jets. Government should be able to look into that reserve at times to save the commercial sector especially when the scarcity of the product is alarming or if there is a price hike and the government wants to subsidise it.

”The government can call the fuel marketers and buy the product off them and sell at subsidised rate for the airlines. This is necessary because the government is taking money back from every airline that flies because the airlines are paying charges.

”Definitely with this, the government would make its money back because if they don’t fly, the government cannot make money. For every hour the airlines fly, the government gets some money too, which would have been zero if they don’t fly. So, the government has to be very flexible.”. he said.

Cauklcrick, who noted that he would not judge government’ s performance in the sector in 2022 with the failure of Nigeria Air to take off alone, hailed government’s performance in the area of the exception of custom duties on importation of aircraft and spare parts, saying it is huge.

”I have found it difficult to rate our government and I will tell you why. Aviation is a deregulated economy. Though, we could have made it better, but I think we should not judge this government based on the Nigeria Air project alone.

”Apart from this, the government has done very well. For this government to relieve the operators on the exception of custom duties on the importation of aircraft and spare parts, that is a huge success.”, he added.

Speaking on the need for need for indigenous Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, he said there is need for an enabling environment for this to happen, urging the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to regulate issuance and renewal of Air Operator’s Certificate for airlines.

”Now, we take the business of the MRO to foreign countries. It means we are creating business for those countries when we were the one that created the business. So, it is better to let it stay within the economy. That is one argument by which the MRO supports the economy. So, this economy should not lose to other economy after creating that business.

”Also, MRO supports the naira in the pockets of everyone of us. Once the aircraft is taken out, there is the cost of labour that would be paid by the airline. Instead of the airlines to save that Nigeria it earned in Nigeria, the airlines go to the foreign exchange market and start looking for dollars. The manpower too is no longer local and the airlines go to the foreign exchange market, looking for dollars, thereby further putting additional pressure on naira. This affects our economy and the Nigerian market.

”To get the local MRO, this is simple. this can be done through policy. For instance, NCAA can say it would not renew an existing AOC or issue an AOC to an intending operator without a local MRO identified in the application form. The government can give them a timeline because this could take up to three years to accomplish.

Once you do that, just leave the rest to the private investors because they know there is an investment created for them. Once an investor knows that his business is being protected, then, they will be willing to invest in the industry. They can then approach a bank to seek for loan. That is how you create a market – you create a market through policy. A policy will naturally create a market. That is how China developed today; it’s through policy and law.”, he added.

 

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