Six out of 10 member airlines have pulled out of the planned flight suspension on Monday, taking advantage of passengers’ glut by raising fares 100 percent.
Overland, Green Africa, Ibom Air, Dana Air, Aero Contractors, and Arik Air have disclosed plans to continue with normal flight operations as fares from Lagos to Abuja, Owerri, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano and Asaba is seeing a rise by 100 percent.
These airlines are now charging between N85,000 to N100,000 for one hour flight which cost N50,000 two days ago, as almost all five airlines already have fully booked aircraft, taking advantage of the absence of Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest carrier.
These developments are coming barely 48 hours after the Airline operators of Nigeria, (AON) disclosed plans to shut down operations following the continuous increase in Aviation fuel.
The suspension of flight agreement statement which was signed by managing directors of Max Air, United Nigeria Airlines, Ibom Air, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Azman Air, Overland, Dana Air, and Air Peace, over the rise in aviation fuel price (JetA1) has since seen airlines pull out, citing the impact the action would bring to passengers.
Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation said in a statement through James Odaudu, Special assistant to the minister of aviation on Public Affairs said it is gratifying that members of the Association have started reviewing the decision to withdraw flight services, with Ibom Air, Green Africa Airlines, Arik Air, Dana and others confirming that they will carry on with their normal flight schedules.
Sirika said the ministry hopes that other members will consider the expected impact on businesses and individuals and review their decision.
He however stated that the decision of the association to suspend flights is purely a business one as they are private businesses reacting to market forces but appealed for interventions to enable them carry on with their operations.
“The Ministry has always made conscious efforts to assist members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), some of which includes facilitating a meeting between the Association and Mr President, during which the association got several concessions, including duty-free importation of aircraft, engines, spare parts and components.
“The Minister at various times personally took members of the Association to engage with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sort out issues of access to Foreign Exchange (FOREX) for their operations, and also the NNPC to exploit ways of ensuring the availability of Aviation fuel (JET A1) through importation or from the major Marketers.
“It should also be recalled that members of the Association were also considered for, and given Bail-out funds to the tune of N4 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they remained afloat.
This was without prejudice to the fact that most of them were heavily indebted to Aviation agencies (as they still are). We believe that members of the Association are patriots who have continued to bear the brunt of an unfavourable oil market for which we salute their doggedness,” the statement read.