Ibom Air pulls out of AON strike

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The management of Ibom Airlines Limited has said it would not join the proposed action by the Airlines Operators of Nigeria, AON to suspend local flights from Monday across the country to protest astronomical cost of jet fuel.

In a statement made available to correspondents in Uyo on Saturday, the airline said it’s action was to avoid legal actions by customers some of whom had already made bookings before the announcement by the AON.

The statement said the latest action was also premeditated on their unique business model and the need to fulfill it’s financial obligations to suppliers, financiers and staff adding that since it has been the only airline operating from Akwa Ibom it cannot afford to cut the state off from the rest of the world.

“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.

“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

It insisted that its inclusion as “signatory” to the statement released by AON must have derived from its active and committed membership of the AON and not because of it’s willingness to be involved in the action by the operators.

“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 concluded.

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