SIX airlines have grounded their fleet, suspending all flight operations while citing low passenger traffic, high cost of operations and need to join efforts being made to stem the spread of coronavirus and protect air travelers and crew from exposure.
The airlines, which announced the shutdown Wednesday are Air Peace, Arik Air, Azman Air, Max Air and Dana Air. Aero Contractors had already grounded flight operations, while Ibom Air downsized operations on its three routes.
Dana Air, which earlier suspended flight operations midnight Wednesday, March 25 for two weeks, blamed the developments on Covid-19, and the huge decline in the passenger figures.
The Station Manager of Max Air, Bello Ramalan said the airline will suspend operations from Saturday, March 28 for two weeks.
In a statement, the Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace Mrs. Toyin Olajide, stated: “It is with a great sense of responsibility that we have decided, in the best interest of our nation, our passengers and workforce, to suspend scheduled flight operations for 23 days effective Friday March 27, 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This difficult decision was reached in order to, not only, support the efforts of the Federal Government and other stakeholders in curbing the spread of this virus in our nation but also to protect our teeming passengers and our staff from becoming victims of the pandemic.
“Continuation of flight operations in the present circumstances we find ourselves as airlines, could lead to the total collapse of any airline hence the need to quickly stem the rising financial burden and costs of operations.
In a statement, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Captain Roy Ilegbodu noted that the decision to suspend operations was “borne to mitigate the risk of the spread of coronavirus to its valued customers and staff, and hopes to resume services as soon as feasible.
“The safety and well-being of our valued customers is paramount at this period of health emergency. We implore everyone to keep safe and abide by all directives issued by governmental authorities.”
The management of Azman Air noted that the decision “was reached after consultations with stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation industry and in a bid to support the Federal Government efforts in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure its eventual eradication.”
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