The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Sunday said they are not backing down on its decision to suspend operations in response to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of JetA1 despite various interventions in the last 24 hours.
In a statement jointly signed by Shehu Wada – Executive Director, Max Air, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo – Chairman, United Nigeria Airlines, Barr. Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu – CEO, Arik Air, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood – CEO, Aero Contractors, Faisal Abdulmunaf – MD, Azman Air and Mr. Sukh Mann – Deputy CEO, Dana Air insist that they are patriotic citizens and are doing all to protect the flying public and the nation at large.
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“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.
“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”, the statement read in parts.
Although Ibom Airlines in a statement released on Saturday said it will not join the planned shutdown of flights announced by the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), Ibom Airlines said obligations to its customers, suppliers and staff, would not allow it to participate in the shutdown.
AON, in its response, 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”.
The Airline Operators called for calm while trying to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
“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”, the statement added.