Ibom Airlines says it will not join the planned shutdown of flights announced by the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON).
The AON had on Friday said its members would suspend flight services on Monday due to the unbearable high cost of aviation fuel (JetA1) and other associated costs.
But in a statement, Ibom Airlines said obligations to its customers, suppliers and staff, would not allow it participate in the shutdown.
“Apart from the above factors, Ibom Air is currently the only airline serving Akwa Ibom State directly and as such, any voluntary stoppage of operations would completely cut off access by air into and out of the State,” the statement added.
“Such action would be directly in conflict with and detrimental to the interest of our shareholder.”
The Ministry of Aviation had on Saturday appealed to the local airline operators to reconsider their decision to suspend services.
Meanwhille, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and avert the imminent shutdown which, it believes, will cripple the nation’s economy.
See the full statement from the company below:
Ibom Airlines Limited (Ibom Air) has been inundated with inquiries about what will happen on Monday 09 May, 2022, following the public statement issued by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) Executive, on Friday 06 May, 2022 and it has become necessary for us to make the following clarifications:
1. Ibom Air acknowledges the existential threat that these runaway fuel price increases pose for the air transport industry in Nigeria. We agree that this out-of-control situation is simply unsustainable. However, every airline has its unique business model and pressures. We believe that in spite of the escalating fuel prices, airlines volunteering to stop operations would rather exacerbate an already bad situation.
2. Ibom Air has financial obligations to suppliers, financiers and staff, which depend on uninterrupted flow of revenue to service. More importantly is the fact that having been paid by customers in advance for flight bookings we are bound by contract to deliver the services already paid for, to avoid exposing the airline to the risk of avoidable litigation.
3. Apart from the above factors, Ibom Air is currently the only airline serving Akwa Ibom State directly and as such, any voluntary stoppage of operations would completely cut off access by air into and out of the State. Such action would be directly in conflict with and detrimental to the interest of our shareholder.
4. *In view of the foregoing facts, Ibom Air had respectfully disagreed with the decision of AON to suspend flight operations on Monday 09 May 2022. Ibom Air cannot in the circumstance volunteer to stop operating and will continue normal operations on Monday 09 May 2022 and beyond. Ibom Air’s inclusion as “signatory” to the statement released by AON must have derived from its active and committed membership of the AON*
5. The above notwithstanding, we identify very strongly with our AON colleagues and will participate in every effort to resolve this frightening situation as soon as possible in the interest of our business, our customers, our stakeholders and our country.
6. We thank our customers for their continued patronage and we thank the AON for our collective efforts to secure a sustainable fuel pricing regime for the airlines.