The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have called off its plan announced last week to suspend all flights in response to rising jet fuel prices.
Carriers were to ground all flights this Monday indefinitely. A letter detailing the plan was signed by major Nigerian airlines represented by AON, such as Max Air, Air Peace, and Azman Air.
A change of heart
Nigerian carriers are now to continue operations as normal until further notice as the Airline Operators of Nigeria confirmed that its plan will no longer go ahead.
As reported by Travel Radar last week, the AON made the decision to ground all aircraft in Nigeria in reaction to the steep rise in jet fuel costs. Jet fuel rocketed in Nigeria from 190 Nigerian nairas per litre to 700 Nigerian nairas per litre. Nigerian carriers were hit badly compared to the rest of the world and have been struggling to cope since March. This is because Nigeria imports the vast majority of its jet fuel.
The reversal of the suspension was because airlines changed their minds. Tickets were also still being advertised for 9 May and beyond, leading to confusion.
Now, flights will continue with AON undergoing further negotiations with the Nigerian government. A decision is highly anticipated.
The AON explained its decision in a statement released on Sunday:
“Further to numerous calls from the highest echelons in government with promises to urgently intervene in the crises being faced by airlines due to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of JetA1, the AON has acceded to requests to withdraw the action for the time being while we allow for a fresh round of dialogue with the government in the hope of reaching an amicable solution.”
However, some airlines pulled out of the protest against the grounding. Ibom Air and Dana Air were only two of the airlines that pulled out of the protest. Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, even pleaded with the unhappy carriers to reconsider and pull out of the protest to keep flights grounded.
This opinion likely would not have resonated with the Nigerian people. Many opt to travel domestically by air because of how safer it is. Travelling by road or rail in Nigeria can be dangerous as the country struggles with kidnapping gangs.
Have you been affected by this ongoing situation in Nigeria? Or do you have any thoughts on this story? Let us know in the comments below.