Nigerian airline operators insist on Monday operation shutdown
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Sunday said it stands by its decision to shut down on Monday over the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel.
The operators in a statement on Sunday morning, however, regretted the decision of one of its members, saying the shutdown was a collective decision taken by the operators to protect the passengers who would have brunt the consequences of the Jet A1 hike.
Daily Trust reports that the operators had on Friday announced they would be suspending operations from Monday after the price of Jet A1 jumped to N700 per litre.
But on Saturday, one of the members, Ibom Air, said it would continue normal operations on Monday.
However, another statement on Sunday signed by the President of AON, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina and endorsed by seven other operators said they stand by their decision.
Other signatories to the statement are Alhaji Shehu Wada – Executive Director, Max Air; Dr Obiora Okonkwo, Chairman, United Nigeria Airlines; Barr. Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace; Capt. Roy Ilegbodu – CEO, Arik Air; Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood – CEO, Aero Contractors; Alhaji Faisal Abdulmunaf – MD, Azman Air and Mr Sukh Mann – Deputy CEO, Dana Air.
The statement read: “In the light of frantic developments within the last twenty-four hours since informing the general public of our decision to suspend operations in response to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of Jet A1, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) would like to state unequivocally that we stand firmly by our decision.
“Airline operators are patriotic citizens and we are doing all we can to protect the flying public contrary to what some subjective schools of thought might suggest. This is a collective sacrifice for the common interest of our nation.”
Futher speaking on the decision taken by the management of Ibom Air, which AON described as an ‘unfortunate position’, the statement read, “AON however regrets the unfortunate position taken by one of our members, Ibom Air, not to stand by the collective decision.
“While they may have their reasons for doing what they did, it is pertinent to note that they equally accepted in their statement that the Jet A1 situation poses an “existential threat to the air transport industry in Nigeria” and that “the out-of-control situation is simply unsustainable.”
“May we use this medium to clearly state that; “Airlines are not on strike. We are private investors who do not run our airlines with public funds to be able to continue to pay upfront in cash at N700 per litre for JetA1 which has increased our cost on daily basis to about 95%. This is unsustainable.
“And its consequences, if allowed to stay, will be borne by the passengers; which is what we are trying to prevent. To this end, therefore, we remain resolute in our resolve to find a lasting solution to this crucial problem of national emergency and once again use this medium to appeal to the conscience of our esteemed passengers for their understanding.”