The Federal Government has appealed to airline operators not to shut down their operations over the high cost of aviation fuel.
Recall that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Friday informed the general public that it would close its stations starting on Monday, May 9.
The operators in a statement sighted by Tracknews said its decision was necessary following the unbearable cost of aviation fuel, which has reached an all-time high of N700 per litre.
The AON stated categorically that the recent hike in aviation fuel has shut up operating costs to about 95% and can no longer bear the pressure.
In a statement on Saturday by his spokesman, James Odaudu, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, urged the airline operators to reconsider their stance on going on strike.
The minister said the planned shutdown would affect the country’s economy badly, adding that the issue of fuel supply is not within his purview.
Sirika, however, sympathised with the operators over the difficulties in procuring aviation fuel, saying that he is engaging with agencies, institutions and individuals in positions to provide succour to the airlines.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has been drawn to reports that the nation’s air transportation system will be disrupted as from Monday May 9th, 2022, following threats by airline operators to shut down operations as a result of rising cost of Jet A1, otherwise known as aviation fuel.
“We also acknowledge that the airline operators are in the business to make profits while servicing the very critical sector that is not only the preferred mode of transport for most Nigerians but also the main international gateway to the nation.
“Unfortunately the issue of fuel supply is not within the purview of the Ministry and so the much it can do in the present situation is to engage with agencies, institutions and individuals in positions to provide succour to the airlines. This is already being done by the relevant team led by the Honourable Minister.
“While the efforts to assuage the situation are on, we wish to appeal to the airline operators, even in the difficult situation, to consider the multiplier effect of shutting down operations, on Nigerians and global travellers, in taking their business-informed decisions and actions.
“We also assure Nigerians, especially stakeholders in the sector, that the Buhari administration remains stoic in its commitment to the creation and sustenance of an environment that promotes the growth of the aviation industry where major players like the airlines can operate in a profitable and competitive market.”
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