By Emmanuel Obisue
Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, on Sunday hearkened to the plea of the Federal Government, and has subsequently suspended its decision to withdraw its services across all airports in the country from Monday, May 9.
The announcement was conveyed in a statement issued and jointly signed by the AON President, Abdulmunaf Sarina, and six other members of the association.
The other signatories include Abdulmunaf – Managing Director of Azman Air; Shehu Wada – Executive Director of Max Air; and Obiora Okonkwo – Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines.
Others were Roy Ilegbodu – Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air; Abdullahi Mahmood – Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors; and Allen Onyema – Chairman of Air Peace.
Nigerian Pilot had earlier reported that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had assured Nigerians that members of AON were reviewing their decision to withdraw services from the said date.
Ibom Air, Dana Air, Green Africa Airlines and Arik Air were some of the operators to have announced a boycott from the planned withdrawal.
The statement by the operators titled: ‘AON ACCEDES TO CALLS FROM GOVERNMENT, SUSPENDS ACTION IN GOOD FATE’, read thus:
“The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) wishes to inform the general public that 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, that the AON has acceded to requests to withdraw the action for the time being while we allow for a fresh round of dialogue with government in the hope of reaching an amicable solution.
“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.
“In view of the above and in the interest of national economy and security considerations, AON hereby wishes to notify the general public that the earlier announced shutdown of operations on May 9, 2022, is hereby suspended in good fate pending the outcome of hopefully fruitful engagement with government”.
The announcement comes less than 24hours before the association planned to effect the withdrawal, which it said was necessitated by rise in cost of aviation fuel and other logistic costs.