A press release from the Aircraft Owners and Operators Association (AOOA) of Pakistan stated that flying schools nationwide have stopped their activities due to a lack of aviation gasoline (AVGAS). The Edhi Air Ambulance has also been grounded because of this shortage.
Imran Aslam, CEO of AOOA, has called on the government to allow the import of AVGAS. He warned that the shortage could result in the closure of general aviation in Pakistan. An emergency meeting was held with all flying schools to discuss the issue.
Aslam explained that oil marketing companies are not importing fuel because the State Bank has not opened LCs (Letters of Credit). He also said that the country is producing 16 pilots per month, but this is being hindered by the fuel shortage. This could affect the airline industry and lead to job losses in flying schools.
The price of AVGAS has increased from Rs. 320 per liter to Rs. 1,145 per liter due to issues with LCs and the dollar exchange rate. Pilot training costs have risen from Rs. 4.5 million to over Rs. 10 million.
The association has demanded that flying schools be allowed to import AVGAS and it should be included in the list of essential items for import. They warned that if the shortage is not resolved, flying schools will shut down close one by one.