Nigeria: We Won’t Shut Down Operation, Ibom Air Tells Airline Operators
In what looks like a crack among the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Ibom Air, on Saturday, said it has pulled out of the proposed shutdown of operations, saying it has financial obligations to suppliers, financiers and staff, which depend on uninterrupted flow of revenue to service.
In a press statement made available to LEADERSHIP by the management of the company on Saturday, it said including its name as signatory to the statement released by the association was derived from its active and committed membership of the AON.
According to the statement, Ibom Air said as the only airline servicing Akwa-Ibom state, any voluntary stoppage of operations would completely cut off access by air in and out of the State, saying such action would be directly in conflict with and detrimental to the state.
The statement reads, “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: 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.
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“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.
“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.
“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.”
Ibom Air management also disclosed that it identified with AON on their efforts to secure a sustainable fuel pricing regime for the airlines in the interest of the business, customers, stakeholders and the country.
“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.
“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,” it added.