Ibom Airlines Limited has submitted a counter position to the Airline Operators of Nigeria over its decision to shut down flight operations in the country.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the AON had announced its decision to suspend flight operations from Monday in a letter addressed to the Miniter of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over a hike in the cost of aviation fuel.
In a statement on Saturday, the Ibom Air management, the airline stated that a bad situation worse would be made worse if flights were suspended across the country.
“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,” the statement read in part.
The company stated that it had obligations to different entities and customers who had booked flights in advance.
Ibom Air also made a case for being the only airline servicing Akwa Ibom State adding that a stoppage of flights would directly impact its shareholder.
The statement continued, “Ibom Air has financial obligations to suppliers, financiers and staff, which depend on an 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.
The airline further stated that the presence of its signature on the letter by the AON was due to the fact that Ibom Air was an active member of the association.
Ibom Air, however, added that it could not suspend flights on Monday and beyond, effectively disagreeing not to volunteer to stop its operations around the country.
“In view of the foregoing facts, Ibom Air had respectfully disagreed with the decision of AON to suspend flight operations on Monday, May 9, 2022. Ibom Air cannot in the circumstance volunteer to stop operating and will continue normal operations on Monday, May 9, 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,” the statement concluded.
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