Local Airline Operators to Suspend Flights Over Rising OPEX

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

From Monday, May 9, 2022, air travellers in Nigeria will not be able to fly to their destinations within the country through any of the airlines as operators have threatened to suspend flights.

The local airline operators claimed they are struggling to remain afloat and the price of a litre of aviation fuel has reached N700 from N190, noting that this has added to the high operating expenses (OPEX).

As a result of the strain on their finances, they have decided to stop operations from next Monday until something is done by those in authority.

“Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) hereby wishes to regrettably inform the general public that member airlines will discontinue operations nationwide with effect from Monday, May 9, 2022, until further notice,” a statement signed by all the airline operators in the country dated Thursday disclosed.

They have advised the travelling public who intend to fly to make alternative arrangements to avoid being stranded at the country’s airports.

According to them, they have been enduring harsh conditions to put smiles on the faces of Nigeria because of “patriotism,” by “subsidizing their services to our highly esteemed Nigerian flying public in the last four months despite the steady and astronomical hike in the price of JetA1 and other operating costs.”

“Over time, aviation fuel price (JetA1) has risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently. No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period. While aviation fuel worldwide is said to cost about 40% of an airline’s operating cost globally, the present hike has shut up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95 per cent.

“In the face of this, airlines have engaged the Federal Government, the National Assembly, NNPC and Oil Marketers with the view to bringing the cost of JetA1 down which has currently made the unit cost per seat for a one hour flight in Nigeria today to an average of N120,000. The latter cannot be fully passed to passengers who are already experiencing a lot of difficulties,” they added.

This is not the first time local airline operators have threatened to stop operations as a result of rising operating expenses.

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