The Airline Operators of Nigeria Association has recently announced it will stop all operations from 9 May due to the rising fuel costs. 

The fuel crisis reaches a breaking point 

In a letter sent by the executive directors of nine Nigerian carriers to the Nigerian Minister of Aviation, the Airline Operators of Nigeria informed that it will shut down all commercial operations because of the high cost of jet fuel, specifically jet A1 fuel. 

All airlines in Nigeria are to stop all operations from Monday 9 May until further notice. 

The letter was signed by major Nigerian airlines. Max Air, Air Peace, United Nigeria Airlines, and Azman Air were a few of the nine in total. 

Azman Air aircraft
Azman Air serves Nigeria domestically but also travels to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. | © Azman Air Services Limited via Facebook

As a consequence of the war in Ukraine, fuel prices everywhere have risen this year. It is not a surprise that jet fuel has also suffered drastic inflation. Nigeria has been struggling more noticeably since March. 

According to the International Air Transport Association, the jet fuel price ended at $174.4 US dollars per barrel – a staggering 149.4% increase compared to the previous year. 

In Nigeria, the cost of jet fuel has increased from 190 Nigerian nairas per litre to 700 Nigerian nairas per litre. 

The Airline Operators of Nigeria attempted to tackle the issue before it got to this point. Attempts to bring down the cost of fuel with the Nigerian Government, the National Assembly, and Oil Marketers fell through. 

Meanwhile, the cost of a seat on a Nigerian aircraft became unsustainable and passengers “who are already experiencing a lot of difficulties” could no longer be expected to pay such a high price.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria explained its difficult yet inevitable decision:

“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%.”

At the time of publishing, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (the equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S) has yet to comment on the matter. 

This will likely have the largest impact on Nigerian carriers that fly internationally. Azman Air and Air Peace are the only carriers who do as over 95% of the country’s flights are domestic services. 

Do you think suspending all operations indefinitely was the right move? Let us know what you think in the comments below. 

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