By Lawani Mikairu, Vanguard Newspaper
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Nigerian airline operators have issued a notice that with effect from Monday, 9th May, they will shut down their operations due to the high cost of aviation fuel which has hit 700 naira per liter.
A statement issued and signed by Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, President, AON, and all the airline operators yesterday advised the traveling public who intend to fly to make alternative arrangements to avoid being stranded at the country’s airports.
The statement read: “It is with a great sense of responsibility and patriotism that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have carried on deploying and subsidizing 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.
“Over time, aviation fuel price (Jet A1) has risen from N190 per liter 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 Nigeria’s operating cost down 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 Jet A1 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 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. This is unsustainable and the airlines can no longer absorb the pressure.
“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.
“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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