Daily Courier – Barring last-minute changes, at least four airlines will not partake in the shutdown directed by the Airline Operators Association of Nigeria (AON).
The airlines include: Ibom Air, Dana Air, Arik and Green Africa.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika disclosed this on Sunday in a statement signed by Dr. James Odaudu, his media aide.
The statement said, “It is gratifying that members of the Association have started reviewing the decision to withdraw flight services from tomorrow, with Ibom Air, Green Africa Airlines, Arik, Dana and some others having given indications that they will carry on with their normal flight schedules.
“We hope and believe that a few hesitant members will consider the dire implications of the planned action for businesses and individuals and review their decision likewise.”
The minister also “assured foreign airlines operating in the country that all the requisite logistics and services for their operations remain in place as usual and that no disruptions whatsoever should be envisaged.”
He called on the members of AON to commit to undisrupted flight services nationwide while the Ministry of Aviation, in concert with other relevant stakeholders, continue with ongoing efforts at finding a lasting solution to the perplexing issue of aviation fuel availability and affordability, in the overall interest of the industry and the economy at large.
Sirika, however, noted that “the decision of the Association is purely a business one as they are private businesses reacting to market forces while appealing for government interventions to enable them carry on with their operations.”
“The Ministry has always made conscious efforts to assist and promote the operational interests of AON, some of which includes facilitating a meeting between the Association and Mr President, during which it got several concessions, including duty-free importation of aircraft, engines, spare parts and components.”
He also said at various times he personally took members of the Association to engage with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sort out issues of access to Foreign Exchange (FOREX) for their operations, and also the NNPC to explore ways of ensuring the availability of Aviation fuel (JET A1) through importation or from the major Marketers at affordable prices.
In a press statement made available to Daily Courier by the communication and marketing manager Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, on Sunday, he said the Airline will not be joining flight suspension.
The statement reads, “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.
“While Dana Air agrees with AON, on all the challenges facing domestic airlines in Nigeria and have 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 acknowledged 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.”
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