After Intense Pressure, Airlines Rescind Planned Shutdown - DAILY TRUST
MAY 09, 2022
By Abdullateef Aliyu And Chris Agabi
After an intense pressure from the Federal Government, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) yesterday backtracked on its decision to suspend flights nationwide over the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel known as Jet A1.
They said the decision was in respect to the appeal by the Federal Government to call off the action while promising to urgently intervene in the crises being faced by airlines “due to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of JetA1.”
However, the aviation unions said they would go ahead with the plan to embark on a two-day warning strike beginning on Monday over issues bothering on conditions of service.
If the planned strike should go ahead, it means there would be flight disruption as the air traffic controllers would not be on duty.
Daily Trust however reports that the decision by the AON was coming after no fewer than six airlines had already chickened out of the planned shutdown.
The airlines which pulled out of the earlier joint decision to suspend operations over skyrocketing Jet A1 included Ibom Air, Dana, Arik, Aero, Overland and Green Africa Airways.
President of the AON, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina issued a statement announcing the reversal of the planned shutdown.
He said, “We have also reached this decision with the highest consideration for our esteemed customers who have been faced with uncertainty over the last few days and to enable them to have access to travel to their various destinations for the time being during the period of discussions with relevant authorities.”
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had earlier in a statement by his special assistant, Dr James Odaudu lauded those who have pulled out of the planned shutdown and expressed hope that the airlines would “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.”
President of ART, Dr Gabriel Olowo who earlier pleaded with the operators to heed the appeal of the Minister said, “Aviation Fuel has been an issue for upwards of 20 years in Nigeria without serious attention. Yet airlines keep operating out of being patriotic. Regrettably this is planning for an accident.
“If any Airline pretends about this problem, such Airline must be receiving subsidies for the business or “cutting corners”. No operational and management skill can answer for this uncontrollable factor of the business. My take is that the government must provide a lasting solution once and for all at this time.”
However, General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Ocheme Aba told our correspondent that the planned industrial action in aviation agencies would go ahead.
The agencies affected are the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).