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Fuel price hike: Airline operators back down on threat to cease flight operations

Fuel price hike: Airline operators back down on threat to cease flight operations
March 18
15:30 2022

Nigerian airlines, under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), have backed down on their threat to shut down operations over an increase in the price of aviation fuel, also known as Jet A1.

Allen Onyema, vice president of AON and chairman of Air Peace, disclosed this in a phone interview with NAN on Friday in Lagos.

The operators had threatened to shut down services on Friday, March 18, if the government could not find a lasting solution for marketers to reduce the price of Jet A1.

Onyema explained that the airlines collectively agreed to suspend the shutdown to avert further disruption in economic activities, considering the key role air transportation plays in the logistic mix.

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“We are not going to shut down flight operations because discussions are ongoing between us and the relevant players in the oil and gas value chain to find a lasting solution to the problem,” Onyema said.

“We are negatively affected by the increasing price of aviation fuel, but as patriotic investors, we will not take any action that will paralyse the economy.

“As patriotic Nigerians and investors, we will continue to engage government and its agencies on the way out of this problem”.

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Onyema said the airlines were considering scaling down on flight frequencies to minimise the cost of operations.

He said the price hike was suffocating for local carriers to continue to operate flights as they spend millions of naira to fill an aircraft with aviation fuel.

He added that local carriers were not considering any further increase in airfares so as not to shut out ordinary Nigerians who desire to travel by air.

Onyema said the decisions taken by the local carriers was a patriotic contribution to President Muhamadu Buhari’s administration.

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According to him, the administration is presently utilising every instrument by engaging stakeholders in the oil and gas and air transportation sectors to seek a permanent solution to the price hike.

The Air Peace chairman said that the Buhari-led administration had contributed immensely to the development of airlines operations in the country.

“Since the Buhari administration came on board, it has shown sufficient commitment to improve the aviation industry,” he said.

“The president signed an executive order that granted waivers on aircraft and its spares and other interventions, the least we could do is to continue to engage until challenges in the sector are resolved”.

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