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Domestic flights to shut down indefinitely Monday

Flight operations in Nigeria will be suspended beginning Monday.

The shutdown has been blamed on the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel, according to a statement issued by the President of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa, and signed by nine operators.

The operators cannot, the statement said, continue to deploy and subsidize their services at the expense of their business.

According to Alhaji Abdulmunaf, while aviation fuel is said to cost about 40% of an airline’s operating cost globally, the increase in the country has scaled up Nigeria’s operating cost to about 95%.

“In the face of this, airlines have engaged the Federal Government, the National Assembly, NNPC and Oil Marketers with the view to bringing the cost of JetA1 down which has currently made the unit cost per seat for a one-hour flight in Nigeria today to an average of N120,000″, he said.

No airline in the world can absorb this kind of sudden shock from such an astronomical rise over a short period, he said.

He praised the federal government’s policies aimed at expanding air transportation, but said the rising cost of aviation fuel has put a strain on operations and the financial viability of airlines.

The airline operators have urged travelers to make alternative arrangements, as flight operations in the country may not resume until the price of fuel falls.

Writing by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino, Saadatu Albashir and Tony Okerafor