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We Stand By Our Decision — Airline Operators Insist On Shutting Operations Over Increased Price Of Aviation Fuel

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Airline operators in the country have clarified that they are not embarking on strike but suspending operations from Monday May 9, so as to protect passengers.

In a statement released after the federal government’s asked them to consider the multiplier effect of their decision on travellers, the AON maintained that the decision has became imperative following the increase in the price of aviation fuel, popularly called JetA1, from N190/litre to N700/litre.

The statement was jointly signed by Shehu Wada, executive director, Max Air; Obiora Okonkwo, chairman, United Nigeria Airlines; Allen Onyema, chairman, Air Peace; Roy Ilegbodu, CEO of Arik Air; Abdullahi Mahmood, CEO, Aero Contractors; Faisal Abdulmunaf, MD, Azman Air; and Sukh Mann, deputy CEO, Dana Air.

The statement read, “In the light of frantic developments within the last twenty four hours since informing the
general public of our decision to suspend operations in response to the astronomic and continuously rising
cost of JetA1, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) would like to state unequivocally that we stand firmly by
our decision.

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“Airline operators are patriotic citizens and we are doing all we can to protect the flying public contrary to what
some subjective schools of thought might suggest. This is a collective sacrifice for the common interest of our
nation.

“AON however regrets the unfortunate position taken by one of our members, Ibom Air, not to stand by the collective decision. While they may have their reasons for doing what they did, it is pertinent to note that they equally accepted in their statement that the JetA1 situation poses an “existential threat to the air transport industry in Nigeria” and that “the out-of-control situation is simply unsustainable.”

“May we use this medium to clearly state that; “Airlines are not on strike. We are private investors who do
not run our airlines with public funds to be able to continue to pay upfront in cash at N700 per litre for JetA1
which has increased our cost on daily basis to about 95%. This is totally unsustainable. And its consequences,
if allowed to stay, will be borne by the passengers; which is what we are trying to prevent.

“To this end, therefore, we remain resolute in our resolve to find a lasting solution to this crucial problem of national emergency and once again use this medium to appeal to the conscience of our esteemed passengers for their understanding.”

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