By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- Following threat by Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON to down tools on Monday owing to high cost of aviation fuel, the federal government has urged the union to give it time to explore means of resolving the challenge.
Minister of Aviation made the plea in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Affairs, James Odaudu.
The statement read: “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.
“As the Ministry charged with the management of the industry, we are greatly concerned about the difficulties being faced by the airline operators in the country in procuring aviation fuel which has resulted in spiraling costs in Air transportation in the immediate past.
“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.”