For fear of getting caught in the planned shutdown of operations across the country from Monday by the domestic airlines, thousands of air travellers have started rushing to the airports to make their trips to their various destinations before Monday.
This is just as the information reaching the public has indicated that some of the airlines have started notifying the public of their resolve to suspend their operations from Monday.
A statement issued by Aero Contractors declared: “In view of the directive on suspension of flight operations of all airlines effective May 9th, 2022, stipulated by AON, we regret to inform you that our flights may not operate as earlier scheduled." We assure you that airline operators are making every effort to see that flight operations are returned to normal very soon. ”
Azman Airlines had earlier announced its suspension in line with the AON directives, saying: “In compliance with the verdict of Airline Operators of Nigeria to discontinue operations nationwide from Monday, May 9th, 2022, Azman Air management would like to inform its esteemed passengers that all our domestic operations are now suspended till further notice.”
Many of the passengers who had earlier planned to travel on Monday were forced to reschedule their flights to last Saturday and Sunday (today) to avoid getting stranded as the Nigerian airline operators remain adamant about their plans to shut down their operations.
The development also caused a sudden increase in airline ticket sales as many passengers who had already booked their flights for later got new tickets while those who could not afford new tickets sought to reschedule their flights.
According to information gathered by the Nigerian Tribune, all the domestic airlines are operating at full capacity due to the rush by many passengers to beat the Monday deadline.
An airline worker who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that all the airlines have their flights, including Monday flights, fully booked, indicating that tomorrow’s operations may not be affected.
It will be recalled that the operators under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had at the weekend, in a statement issued by its president, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina and signed by eight other airlines, notified the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) of their intention to withdraw their services over the unreasonable hike in the price of aviation fuel, also known as Jet A1, and other sundry issues which have led to high operational costs.
The threat by the operators sparked confusion in the industry, with concerns being raised about the fate of intending passengers who have already bought tickets and are set to travel on Monday.
Amidst all the pleas from the minister, National Assembly, and National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) to the airlines to rescue the shutdown plans, the operators have declared that they are not going back on their plans.
A fresh statement issued by the operators, which was signed by seven operators and dated May 7, 2022, declared: “In the light of frantic developments within the last twenty-four hours since informing the general public of our decision to suspend operations in response to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of JetA1, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) would like to state unequivocally that we stand firmly by our decision."
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