By Chinelo Obogo
Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have said that due to the high cost of aviation fuel, member airlines will from Monday, May 9, discontinue operations nationwide until further notice.
This is coming following Daily Sun’s report about how exasperated the airlines were over the recent increase in fuel price after some airlines considered shutting down
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In a statement signed by the President of AON, Abdulmunaf Yunusa and copied to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)
Capt. Musa Nuhu, the body that aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently and that no airline in the world can absorb the shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period.
The body said: “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.
“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.”
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The airlines which endorsed the statement and will be shutting down are; Max Air, United Nigeria Airlines, Ibom Air, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Azman Air, Overland Airways, Dana Air and Air Peace.
In a related development, three aviation unions will on Monday and Tuesday, May 9 and 10, embark on warning strike over
the non implementation of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment which was negotiated since 2019.
In a statement signed by the General Secretaries of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) Ocheme Aba, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Abdulrazaq Saidu and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) Sikiru Waheed, the unions said despite their best efforts, the issue of the Conditions of Service of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMeT), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) as negotiated for upwards of seven years remain with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) and the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment remain unimplemented since 2019.
The unions said the ongoing effort by the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the NSWIC to resolve these issues do not show any positive sign of achieving amelioration anytime within sight and consequently, they have no alternative than to embark on an industrial action to press home their demands.
“All workers in NAMA, NCAA, NiMeT and NCAT are hereby directed to embark on a two-day warning strike on May 9 and 10, 2022. Should the warning go unheeded, an indefinite strike shall be called soon afterwards.
However, workers in all aviation organisations including FAAN and AIB are hereby directed to support and operate with the unions to assure full compliance and success of the strike,” they stated.