The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Sunday insisted that they would go ahead with withdrawal of flights services on Monday over astronomical rise in aviation fuel.
Dr Yunusa Abdulmunaf, President of the association, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.
Abdulmunaf said that the association unequivocally stood firmly by its decision to commence withdrawal of flights services from May 9.
The association had on Friday threatened to shutdown flights services to passengers, if the Federal Government refused to reduce the price of Jet A1, now being sold at N700 per litre.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had appealed to the domestic airlines to reconsider their decision to withdraw flight services in the interest of the flying public and the nation’s economy.
Abdulmunaf said that that the association’s decision was a collective sacrifice for the common interest of the flying public and the nation.
“In the light of frantic developments within the last 24 hours, since informing the general public of our decision to suspend operations in response to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of JetA1; we 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,” he said.
Abdulmunaf, however, regretted the unfortunate position taken by one of its members, Ibom Air, not to stand by the collective decision of the association.
He said that, while they might have their reasons for doing what they did, it was pertinent to note that they equally accepted in their statement that the JetA1 situation posed an “existential threat to the air transport industry in Nigeria”.
According to him, Ibom Air also agree that “the out-of-control situation is simply unsustainable.”
The president, however, stated, “airlines are not on strike”, adding that they were private investors who do not run their airlines with public funds to be able to continue to pay upfront in cash at N700 per litre for Jet-A1.
He complained that the situation had increased the operational cost on daily basis to about 95 per cent, which according to him, was totally unsustainable.
Abdulmunaf said that its consequences, if allowed to stay, would be borne by the passengers; which he said was what they were trying to prevent.
He said that the association remained resolute in its resolve to find a lasting solution to “this crucial problem of national emergency”.
“Once again, I use this medium to appeal to the conscience of our esteemed passengers for their understanding,” the association president said.