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Operating airlines raise fares by at least 50 per cent


 Hadi Sirika

Hadi Sirika

Minister Intervenes In Aero’s Temporary Closure, Meets Workers

Some local airlines still in operation after the temporary closure of Aero and FirstNation Airways appeared to have taken advantage of the situation by raising fares on some high-traffic routes.

The Guardian yesterday observed that Lagos-Abuja ticket that sold for about N25, 000 went for between N34,000 to N39,400 depending on airline and time of purchase.

One of the most popular airlines at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) in Lagos sold the Business class ticket at N54, 400.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, yesterday pledged to intervene in the shutdown of Aero Contractors’ scheduled flight operations, to ensure that the airline returns to business as soon as possible.

Sirika, who met some protesting workers of the airline in Lagos yesterday said that he would do everything within his power to ensure that the airline resumes operation as soon as possible.

FirstNation airways has, however, promised to resume scheduled flight operations on or before September 15, 2016.

The airline, which had shut down operations in the last two weeks, said maintenance work on its Airbus 319 fleet was almost complete for scheduled services.

Head of Commercial, FirstNation, Serah Awogbade, explained that the maintenance checks were planned ahead, adding that customers were notified.

Awogbade noted that the current foreign exchange constraint, coupled with over 70 per cent devaluation of naira partly contributed in no small measure to the temporary closure.

It would be recalled that Aero Contractors announced temporary shutdown of scheduled flight operations on Wednesday, to restrategise and reposition the airline for profitability. The management said that the Rotary Wing (helicopter and Dash 8 charter) and Maintenance Repairs and Operations (MRO) are still in running.

Affected workers that were to proceed on indefinite leave of absence, however, took to protest at the airlines’ headquarters in Lagos.

Sirika, in company of government officials, appealed to the workers to remain calm, pledging that Aero would not go the way of Air Nigeria and other defunct airlines.

He said the ministry understood the workers’ grievances and was looking into it, adding that he would invite all the principal actors to a meeting in the interest of all parties concerned.

The minister urged the workers to go home and reconvene on Monday.

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