Airline operators bow to ‘govt plea,’ suspend planned shutdown

The body of airline operators in the country has suspended their planned shutdown of flight operations over high cost of aviation fuel and other operational costs.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) in a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina and backed by seven airlines, at the weekend, announced it planned intention to down tools over the price increments it said became astronomical.

One of the undersigned airlines, Ibom Air, differed and said it won’t comply with the decision to avoid litigation from its customers who have already booked flights before the announcement.

In another statement Sunday evening, Mr Sarina said the body has decided to continue flight operations following pleas by the federal government that its demands will be speedily looked into.

“The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) wishes to inform the general public that further to numerous calls from the highest echelons in government with promises to urgently intervene in the crises being faced by airlines due to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of JetA1, that the AON has acceded to requests to withdraw the action for the time being while we allow for a fresh round of dialogue with the government in the hope of reaching an amicable solution,” reads the statement.

“We have also reached this decision with the highest consideration for our esteemed customers who have been faced with uncertainty over the last few days and to enable them to have access to travel to their various destinations for the time being during the period of discussions with relevant authorities.

“In view of the above and in the interest of national economy and security considerations, AON hereby wishes to notify the general public that the earlier announced shutdown of operations on May 9, 2022, is hereby suspended in good fate pending the outcome of hopefully fruitful engagement with government,” it added.