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The planned suspension of flight operations by scheduled airline operators in Nigeria, that was due to commence this week has been halted, with some airlines backing out of the arrangement.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the umbrella body of airline owners, had Friday announced the joint decision to halt all operations.

The operators had shocked Nigerians as they announced the decision to halt all operations across airports in the country due to the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel, JetA1 and sundry operating costs.

In a statement AON said: “Overtime, aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently. No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period. While aviation fuel worldwide is said to cost about 40% of an airline’s operating cost globally, the present hike has shut up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95%.

“In the face of this, airlines have engaged the Federal Government, the National Assembly, NNPC and Oil Marketers with the view to bringing the cost of JetA1 down which has currently made the unit cost per seat for a one hour flight in Nigeria today to an average of N120,000. The latter cannot be fully passed to passengers who are already experiencing a lot of difficulties.

“To this end therefore, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) hereby wishes to regrettably inform the general public that member airlines will discontinue operations nationwide with effect from Monday May 9, 2022 until further notice,” the AON had declared.

However, the declaration by 9 members of the airline body appears not to be sanctioned by the very Chief Executive Officers of airlines who signed the suspension document.

Amidst the confusion, the federal government appealed to the airlines to shelve the action and allow for dialogue and intervention to address the vexed issues.

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