The PUNCH reports that airline operators in the country have clarified that they are not embarking on strike but suspending operations from Monday (tomorrow) in their bid to protect passengers.
They said that the decision became imperative following the jump in the price of aviation fuel, popularly called JetA1, from N190/litre to N700/litre.
The operators explained that the hike in the price of aviation fuel, which they described as “totally unsustainable” necessitated the need to suspend operations.
“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 totally unsustainable. And its consequences, if allowed to stay, will be borne by the passengers; which is what we are trying to prevent,” the operators said.
The AON made the clarification in a statement jointly signed by its President, Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina and seven other members including the Executive Director of Max Air, Alhaji Shehu Wada, and the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo.
Others are the Chairman of Air Peace, Barr. Allen Onyema; the CEO of Arik Air, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu; the CEO of Aero Contractors, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood; the MD of Azman Air, Alhaji Faisal Abdulmunaf; and the Deputy CEO of Dana Air, Mr. Sukh Mann, stressed that it remained resolute on its decision to suspend operations.
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 JetA1, 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.
“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 JetA1 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 totally 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.”