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Senate begs airline operators not to go on strike

by Business News Report

Senate has pleaded with airline operators not go on strike as a result of scarcity of aviation fuel in the country. Senator Smart Adeyemi, led Senate Committee on Aviation had  an emergency meeting with the operators to plead with them not to go on strike Friday as planned as a result of high cost of Aviation fuel ( Jet – A1). The Airline Operators had on Monday at an interface with members of the  Aviation Committee in the House of Representatives, threatened to stop operations within 72 hours if the cost of Aviation fuel is not urgently brought down to N400 per litre as against N670 it is  selling for now or financial bailout made by the Federal Government to them .

At the meeting with the Senate Committee on Aviation,  the operators  led by their Chairman, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa  reiterated that they would go on strike if nothing is done to save the stressful situation, Airline Operators will withdraw their services by Friday morning. Alhaji Yunusa who spoke along with the Chairman, United Nigeria Airline ,  Mr Obiora Okonkwo who noted that they cannot cope with the high cost of operation worsened by upsurge in the price of Aviation fuel said , “based on  the cost component of Airline operation in Nigeria today , actual price for ticket of one hour flight is N150,000 which is being subsidised to N50,000 per passenger. “We are not sure yet that we would not carry out our plans to shut down operations on Friday because up till now the marketers have not started selling fuel at N500.

“They are still selling at N670 and we cannot continue to subsidise because doing so would make us to run out of business. We are overburdened by this ticket subsidy and heavily indebted to Banks with consequences of running out of business if required actions are not taken.” On his  part, Senator Adeyemi who appealed to the Airline Operators to give the Senate and by extension , the National Assembly few days to wade into the matter through interface with the Federal Government,  said that  the issue will be raised on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Wednesday for the purposes of making the Federal Government to give the operators , expected bail out. Adeyemi said, “Your threat to stop flying from Friday this week , is too tough an order . Aviation is life and there is no way the Senate and government generally will allow such to happen. Your complaints are genuine and will surely be looked into .The  senate would intervene to ensure that the airline operators carry out their activities with minimal pains. The senate president and all senators are very worried by the threat from the operators and the Senate would not keep quiet over the matter. 

“We would ensure that the executive do the needful to release bail out to the airline operators  it pays all of us to make the aviation fuel very robust. Please give us some time for the Senate to see what we can  achieve. So we want you to extend your ultimatum to down tool. Er would ensure that you get the required palliative so that there won’t be crisis.” Also at the meeting were representative of the Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) , Captain Chris Najomo , Secretary Airline Operators , Mr Zamani Solomon etc.

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