Nigerian airlines will stop operations for domestic flights from Monday until further notice due to the high cost of jet fuel. The members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) are Aero Contractors (N2), Air Peace (P4), Arik Air (W3), Azman Air, Dana Airlines (9J), Ibom Air (QI), MaxAir (VM), Overland Airways (OF), and United Nigeria Airlines, the nation’s largest air carriers. Global jet fuel prices have soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It will be a massive disruption for travelers in Nigeria. There has been general outrage on social media after the announcement. The Nigerian airline association said that the cost of a one-hour flight has more than doubled. „No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period.” Aviation fuel worldwide is said to cost about 40 per cent of an airline’s operating cost globally BUT Nigeria’s operating cost is now about 95 per cent. “While the Airline Operators of Nigeria appreciates the efforts of the current government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure air transport in Nigeria grows, unfortunately, the cost of aviation fuel has continued to rise unabated; thereby creating huge pressure on the sustainability of operations and financial viability of the airlines. This is unsustainable and the airlines can no longer absorb the pressure,” a statement said.
There have been many flight cancellations and delays since March. The price of tickets has also tripled on some routes in recent weeks. The AON had announced a similar move in mid-March but reversed its decision after entering into talks with the government and petroleum industry operators. Now,the government has not yet commented. Flights are the preferred option for travel because of insecurity on roads across the country, due especially to kidnapping gangs operating on highways for ransom money. In the first three months of this year more than 3,500 people were killed and many more kidnapped by armed groups in Nigeria.