AON Says No going Back On Decision To Suspend Operations

Share this

By Stephen Ubanna

President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General and Temipre Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa state and  the minister of state , Petroleum Resources, have a big task at hand: To ensure that the Aviation Operators of Nigeria, AON, will not carry out their threat of suspending operations on Monday, 9, 2022 which they had declared will be ‘’ till further notice’.

This may not be too good for a country in which undergraduates of the Federal Universities across the country have been on forced holiday  since February this year which the Katsina state born Nigerian President had reportedly said he was not aware of it.  There is no gainsaying the fact that he may decide to ignore the AON and dam the consequences after he has a Presidential Jet that could fly him within and outside the country.  

Tank Farm

Signs that the airline operators may suspend their operations over the high cost of JETA 1, to run their aircrafts, emerged last January but could not pursue the matter to its logical conclusion  to avoid throwing the nation into crisis. The Leadership of AON, were said to have approached the oil  markers several to lodge their Complaints  over the high cost of aviation fuel   which  they had blamed on the prevailing high exchange rate of the naira to the North American country of the United States dollar in the foreign exchange market in the last five months.

Abdulmunaf Yumusa Sarina, the AON President may have painted a sorry state of the situation   when he noted that ‘’overtime the sales of aviation fuel had risen from N190.00 per litre to N700.00, which is currently the price’’. An aggrieved Sarina, who could no hide his feelings had said that ‘’no airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such astronomical rise over a short period’’.

He noted that ‘’while aviation fuel worldwide cost about 40% of an airline’s operating cost globally, has shut up  the operating cost   of the country’s airlines to 95% which may ground their operations if not quickly resolved.

Air Peace: Operations Affected By High Cost Of JET A1

The AON president had said that the Association comprising  of Azman Air, his own airline, Arik, Aero, Dana Air,   Air Peace and Ibom Air, hand others had severally  engaged  ‘’the relevant government Authorities, National Assembly, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, now baptized Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, NNPC, with the passage of the 2019 Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which had been assented into Law by the retired Army General, with a view  ‘’to bring the cost  of the Aviation fuel down’’ .

Given the negative impact of the airline operators decision  to suspend operations by Monday , May 9, 2022,  may have  encouraged the Association  to  send out  message to the travelling public  that based  on the hike on the price of aviation  fuel  from N190.00  per litre to N700.00 per litre that has  currently  made the unit  cost  per Seat  for a one hour flight  in Nigeria today, to be an average  of N120,000.00.

 ‘’This is unsustainable and the Airlines can no longer absorb the pressure’’, Sarina, the AON president had said. At president the Airline Operators are charge discriminatory prices per eat for one hour flight.  Some of the Airline Operators charge as much as N50,00, for an hour flight.

This may have informed why the Sarina, the AON President and Managing Director,  Azman Air, had appealed to air  travelers ‘’to kindly reconsider their travel plans and make alternative arrangements’’.

 Many believe that the Complaints of AON, could have been settled long ago if the likes of Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central of Bank, and Temipre, the minister of state, Petroleum Resources, who were said to have Presidential ambition to contest the 2023, general elections on the ticket of All Progressive Congress, APC, have been alive to their duties instead of combining it with their vocational work.

Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker , House of Representatives may have known that AON, are deadly  serious to suspend operations from Monday, May 9, 2022, that he  has pleaded with them to reconsider the decision in the interest of the travelling public because of the rising insecurity in the country.

This may have informed why he has urged the Nigerian President   ‘’to intervene and avert the imminent shutdown of airline services across the country. Ndudi Elumelu, the Opposition PDP, minority Leader, had had said that if AON members goes ahead to carry out their threat of shutting down operations by Monday, May 9, 2022, ‘’it will hurt millions of businesses and carry grave consequences’’.

Serika: Minister Of Aviation

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, who  may have working behind the scene to force AON to reconsider their decision of  shutting  down operations on Monday, May 9, 2022, had said that ‘’there is no much he could do because ‘’the issue of supply of aviation fuel to the airlines was not within the purview of the ministry’’.

Although, he has promised ‘’to engage with the relevant agencies, institutions and individuals in positions of Authority to provide succor to the airlines’’ but that was how far he could go.

Onyema: MD, Air Peace, NoBacking Down On Suspension of Operations

Depite the intervention of various actors and other well- meaning Nigerians to ensure that the Airlines reverse their decision to suspend operations over the last 24 hours,  Shehu Wada Executive Director Max Air, Allen Onyema, a Lawyer and Chairman, Air Peace, and Captain Roy Illegbodu, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Arik Air, and other airlines CEOs, may have read the handwriting on the wall that NNPC officials  and the marketers are not ready for talks that they have said that ‘’there is no going back on its decision to suspend operations on Monday, May 9, 2022, till further notice.

In spite of the fact that AON, had said that they would not back  down on their decision to suspend their operation, Ibom Air, owned by the Akwa Ibom state government had told those that cares to listen that it would not join the planned shutdown of flights announced by AON Leadership.  The Ibom Air Authorities had said that ‘’its obligations to its customers, suppliers and staff, would not allow it to participate in the shutdown of services to protest the high cost of JETA 1 aviation fuel’’.

It noted that ‘’apart from the various reasons that had been  enunciated by the company  for not going to shut down its operations, , ‘’Ibom air is  currently the only airline  serving Akwa Ibom state directly  and as such, any voluntary stoppage  of operations  would completely  cut off access by air  into and out of the state’’.

Ibom Air: Refuse To Join AON, In Planned Suspension Of Operations Over High Cost Of Aviation Fuel

 There are fears in both official and unofficial quarters that Ibom Air Management decision not to shut down its flight operations may rub off on other airlines which may follow suit and thus, force the government to  relax instead of addressing the complaints of the AON, meaning that the travelers may  the worst for it as they may be  made  to pay for the high cost of the aviation fuel to use the services of the airlines now and in the future.

Ver since information filtered out that the AON, are not ready to reverse their decision to suspend to operations , some of  the APC, and PDP presidential Candidates who have been hard hit  as most of  most their loyalists could no longer travel in advance to states where they ought to meet the delegates to solicit their  support as the chartered aircraft that may be used may no accommodate all of them.

Even those in the cities who had planned to travel to their Constituencies their respective states   because of their interest to contest the 2023 general elections either to the National Assembly or state Assembly are not left out as the road transport alternative may not be the best alternative, This is because of the activities of bandits, Terrorists, Kidnappers and other criminal elements on the road.

It is not surprising why ma many of them have taken it upon themselves to plead with the Leadership of  of the AON, to reconsider their decision  in order  not derail the 2023 general elections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *