Sunday, September 25, 2022

Airlines consider nationwide shutdown as aviation fuel hits N700

The airlines said they have been subsidising their services in the last four months, so their customers can afford the fare.

• May 6, 2022
Murtala Muhammed International Airport
Murtala Muhammed International Airport

Airline operators in Nigeria are shutting down operations indefinitely from Monday due to the increase in the price of aviation fuel. 

This was communicated to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in a letter signed by the President of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina. 

Mr Sarina bemoaned the sporadic increase in the cost of operations reaching over Ninety-five per cent which was essentially occasioned by the increase in the price of Jet A1.

According to him, passengers can no longer be subjected to such hardship. 

“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 steady and astronomical hike in the price of Jet A1 and other operating costs.

“Overtime, aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently. No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period.

“While aviation fuel worldwide is said to cost about 40% of an airline’s operating cost globally, the present hike has shut up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95%. 

“ 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.

“To this end therefore, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) hereby wishes to regrettably inform the general public that member airlines will discontinue operations nationwide with effect from Monday, May 9, 2022 until further notice,” the letter read. 

The threats of strike by the airliners have lingered since March when the association said ‘systemic issues’ are behind the unavailability and ever-rising price of the fuel. 

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