Domestic Airline Operators call off planned Suspended flights

Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, call off planned suspended flights- Straightnews
Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, call off planned suspended flights

Domestic airline operators, under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, have called off their planned suspension of flights which was billed to commence on Monday.

A statement signed by the President of AON, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina and endorsed by other members said they have listened to the appeal by stakeholders and the federal government for them not to withdraw their services.

”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 government in the hope of reaching an amicable solution.

“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,” the statement read.

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According to the AON President, “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.”

Though the operators have called off their planned suspension of flights, some airlines announced that flight operations remain functional.

Indications emerged that cracks in AON as Dana Air, Ibom Air refuse to shutdown flight operations.

A statement just issued by the spokesperson of Dana Air airline, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, declared: “Following the recent press statement issued by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), it has become necessary for us to take a stand in the overall interest of our guests, corporate partners, staff and the industry at large. 

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“While Dana Air agrees with the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on all the challenges facing domestic airlines in Nigeria and has on many occasions actively participated in the collective and ongoing engagement of relevant authorities on the urgent need to tackle the many issues domestic airlines have been grappling with which includes the skyrocketing cost of Jet A1, we have taken a decision not to join the suspension of flights on May 9, 2022.

 

“We acknowledge that the present cost of jet A1 is unsustainable and should not be passed to the flying public, we, therefore, call on the government to act urgently to resolve these unending operational challenges while Dana Air will continue to support every effort by the AON to achieve a quick and peaceful resolution in the interest of our dear country Nigeria. 

 

We appreciate and thank our customers once again for choosing to fly with us

Ibom Air owned by the Akwa Ibom State government was the first to dissociate itself from the AON plans to suspend its flights.

 

A statement issued by the airline management while insisting that Ibom Air had financial obligations to suppliers, financiers and staff, which depend on uninterrupted flow of revenue to service.

 

It declared, “In view of the foregoing facts, Ibom Air had respectfully disagreed with the decision of AON to suspend flight operations on Monday, May 9, 2022.

Ibom Air cannot in the circumstance volunteer to stop operating and will continue normal operations on Monday, May 9, 2022, and beyond. Ibom Air’s inclusion as “signatory” to the statement released by AON must have derived from its active and committed membership of the AON.

The airline further said: “Ibom Air acknowledged the existential threat that these runaway fuel price increases pose for the air transport industry in Nigeria. We agree that this out-of-control situation is simply unsustainable.

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However, every airline has its unique business model and pressures. We believe that in spite of the escalating fuel prices, airlines volunteering to stop operations would rather exacerbate an already bad situation. More importantly is the fact that having been paid by customers in advance for flight bookings we are bound by contract to deliver the services already paid for, to avoid exposing the airline to the risk of avoidable litigation.

 

“Apart from the above factors, Ibom Air is currently the only airline serving Akwa Ibom State directly and as such, any voluntary stoppage of operations would completely cut off access by air into and out of the State. Such action would be directly in conflict with and detrimental to the interest of our shareholders.”