Virtually all domestic airlines in Nigeria have agreed to suspend their flight operations by midnight of Friday, 27th March as part of efforts to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. The latest of the airlines are Arik Air and Dana Air. Air Peace, Aero Contractors and other airlines had earlier on Tuesday announced that with effect from Friday, they will suspend flight operations.
Disclosing Arik Air decision to suspend flight operations, Mr Adebanji Ola, Communications Manager, Arik Air said the airline took the decision in order to mitigate the risk of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to its customers and staff. Ola said: “ Arik Air will temporarily suspend all scheduled commercial flight operations effective 23:00hrs on Friday, March 27, 2020.
“The management took this decision in order to mitigate the risk of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to its valued customers and staff and hopes to resume services as soon as feasible. Customers who have confirmed tickets have been advised that they could still use their tickets when the airline resumes flight operations. Such tickets could also be modified at no extra charge”.
Also speaking about the suspension, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Captain Roy Ilegbodu said: “The safety and well-being of our valued customers is paramount at this period of a health emergency. We implore everyone to keep safe and abide by all directives issued by governmental authorities. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this suspension may have caused our customers.” Meanwhile, Captain Ilegbodu revealed that Arik Air would be available to support government emergency, humanitarian and charter flight requests during the period of suspension of air transport operation.
In the same vein, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa , Communications Manager, Dana Air while also announcing the suspension of flight operations of Dana Air said there has been a huge decline in the passenger figures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ezenwa said: “In response to the recent developments on Covid-19, and the need to support the efforts of the government to stem the further spread of the Covid-19 in our dear country, we have decided to suspend our flight operations for the next 14 days effective midnight 25th March 2020”. “Recently, there has been a huge decline in the passenger figures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and considering the need to avoid piling unnecessary costs at this difficult time, we had to take this huge decision in the interest of the industry, staff, customers and our nation”. “While we apologise and regret any inconvenience this decision may cause customers on affected flights, we wish to reassure our guests that we will be available on all our channels to ensure seamless updates and communication”, he said.