The Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, has suspended its planned decision to ground flight operations tomorrow.

The body in two statements issued between Friday last week and Sunday hinged their decision on the high cost of aviation fuel popularly called Jet A1 at N700 per liter.

The decision to suspend the planned flight disruption according to the AON is government assurance to wade into the matter with a view to finding a lasting solution.

“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 the government”.

Before the suspension over five airlines had renounced their stand on the planned disruption of flight operations tomorrow.

Reacting to AON’s suspension, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika in a statement applauded the body for heeding government’s call.

He says, 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.

“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)”.

The statement adds that in the past efforts were made to ensure the operators get forex to cater to their operations from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN as well as on the vexed issue of aviation fuel.

“The Honourable 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”.

The Minister also assured foreign airlines operating in the country that all logistics and services for their operations remain in place as usual and that no disruptions whatsoever should be envisaged.

He reiterated government’s commitment to the continued growth of the aviation industry where airlines and other service providers operate in a profitable and competitive environment.

RadioNig/Cynthia Akere

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