Ibom Airline has declined to take part in the planned shut down of operations by the Airline Operators of Nigeria over the increase in the price of aviation fuel.
The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Mfon Udom, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Lagos.
Ibom Airline stated that the clarification was necessary, following the public statement issued by other airlines to down tools on Monday, May 9, owing to the high cost of aviation fuel from N160 to N900 per litre.
In the statement, Ibom Airline attributed the reasons for not shutting down to be its financial obligations to suppliers, financiers, and workers who depend on an uninterrupted flow of revenue to service.
The statement said more importantly, having been paid by customers in advance for flight bookings, it was bound by contract to deliver the services already paid for, to avoid exposing it to the risk of avoidable litigation.
It said: “We acknowledge 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 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.”
The statement noted that apart from the above factors, the airline was 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.
It assured that the airline would continue normal operations on Monday and beyond, adding that the Ibom Air’s inclusion as “signatory” to the statement by AON was because it was an active and committed member of the association.
The statement said notwithstanding, the airline identified strongly with its AON colleagues and would participate in every effort to resolve the frightening situation in the interest of their business, customers, stakeholders, and the country.