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Representatives & Minister Hadi Sirika appeal to airlines over planned shut down

Nnolim Nnaji, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation and Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, has appealed to the Airline Operators of Nigeria, (AON) to rescind action on its planned shutdown of operations.

This is also as the Aviation Committee Chairman disclosed that the House of Reps Leadership had already summoned a meeting of the stakeholders including the chairmen of the relevant committees of the House to a meeting on Monday, May 9, 2022 to address their matter.

Hadi Sirika noted that the supply of aviation fuel, otherwise known as Jet A1 is not within the purview of the Ministry.

He added that 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, he said is already being done by the relevant team led by his office to cushion the effects of the high cost of the commodity that has jumped to N700 per litre.

Sirika who spoke through James Odaudu, his special assistant on Public Affairs, in a bid to prevail on the airlines to shelve grounding of the operations from Monday next week said they 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.

His words, “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”, Sirika added.

Nnolim Nnaji also expressed concerns that despite the last intervention of the leadership of the House of Representatives, Aviation and other relevant Committees, the problem remained unabated, assured the airlines that his committee and the House leadership were not sleeping over their plight.

Nnaji who praised the operators for their patriotism, further urged them not to ground their operations stressing, that, ” such will inflict more pains on our already distressed economy”.

He also promised that, “the National Assembly is determined to ensure that the aviation fuel crisis is urgently resolved because air transportation has become the safest mode of travel.

“It is equally the catalyst of economic development so we cannot afford to entertain any disruptions in the sector especially now that election process is ongoing “.

The operators had on Friday, May 6, 2022 issued a notice of shutting down their operations over the hike in aviation fuel which has now risen to N700 a litre thereby shooting their costs of operations-to 95 percent..

This was contained in a letter signed by heads of almost all domestic airlines in Nigeria.

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