Domestic airlines under the auspices of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) will from Monday, May 9, shut down their operations following the prohibitive cost of aviation fuel.
Also, the three aviation unions in the country will commence a two-day warning strike from Monday, May 9.
The strike, Persecondnews learnt, is to press home the implementation of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment which was negotiated since 2019.
The President of AON, Abdulmunaf Yunusa, who announced this, lamented that aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 thereby resulting in high cost of flying aircraft in the country’s airspace.
According to him, no airline in the world can absorb the shock from such an astronomical rise in the price of aviation fuel over a short period.
“It is with a great sense of responsibility and patriotism that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have carried on deploying and subsidising their services to our highly esteemed Nigerian flying public in the last four months despite the astronomical hike in the price of JetA1 and other operating costs.
“Overtime, aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently. In the face of this, airlines have engaged the Federal Government, the National Assembly, NNPC and oil marketers with the view to bringing the cost of JetA1 down which has currently made the unit cost per seat for a one hour flight in Nigeria today to an average of N120,000.
“The latter cannot be fully passed to passengers who are already experiencing a lot of difficulties.
“While AON appreciates the efforts of the current government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure air transport in Nigeria grows, unfortunately, the cost of aviation fuel has continued to rise unabated thereby creating huge pressure on the sustainability of operations and financial viability of the airlines,” Yunusa said in a statement to the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika and the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu.
“To this end therefore, the AON wishes to regrettably inform the general public that member airlines will discontinue operations nationwide with effect from Monday May 9, 2022 until further notice.
“AON uses this medium to humbly state that we regret any inconveniences this very difficult decision might cause and appeal to travelers to kindly reconsider their travel itinerary and make alternative arrangements,” Persecondnews quotes Yunusa as saying.
The airlines which endorsed the statement are Air Peace, Max Air, United Nigeria Airlines, Ibom Air, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Azman Air, Overland Airways, and Dana Air.