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May 9, 2022

Nigerian airlines halt plan to ground planes over fuel price hike

Many airline companies in the country have cancelled or delayed flights due to the shortage of jet fuel.

Nigerian carriers have paused plans to ground local flights due to increasing jet fuel prices.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) association had originally decided to halt all domestic operations from 9 May in protest of the price hike, which is hampering their profitability.

According to AON, jet fuel prices have increased nearly fourfold this year, which is unsustainable.

In a statement, AON said: “No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period.”

However, AON has now ‘acceded to requests to withdraw the action’ until a fresh round of talks occurred with the national government.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February is said to have led to a significant surge in jet fuel prices.

Representing nine domestic carriers in Nigeria, AON noted that many airline companies in the country have cancelled or delayed flights due to a shortage of jet fuel.

This shortage is said to have tripled flight tickets on some routes in recent weeks.

The association said that jet fuel costs increased from $0.45 (N190) per litre to $1.68 (N700) per litre in Nigeria within a short period, reported Reuters.

It also noted that the cost of a one-hour flight has more than doubled to N120,000.

Despite being the largest oil producer in Africa, Nigeria imports most of its jet fuel from other countries.

AON is said to have urged the government, state-owned oil companies and the association that represents fuel sellers to bring the prices down. It has also apologised to customers and urged them to make alternative arrangements.

The Nigerian Government has not yet commented on the planned strike.

One of the Nigerian airlines said that only domestic flight operations would be interrupted and international flight operations would not be impacted, according to the BBC.

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