Two domestic carriers Air Peace and Aero Contractors of Nigeria on Wednesday announced suspension of flight operations.
The carriers said they took the difficult decision as part of efforts to assist government curb the spread of COVID -19.
They said there had been slump in passenger traffic in the last three weeks as a direct consequence of COVID-19, saying it was unwise to continue rake up avoidable costs that airlines could ill afford.
While Air Peace said it will be available to offer special flights to government and individuals, it however suspended flight operations for 23 days effective midnight on Friday , March 27.
Aero Contractors, on its part, said it was suspending flight operations for two weeks effective midnight Thursday March 26.
A statement by the Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, Mrs Toyin Olajide reads :” As concerted efforts are being made to stop the spread of the pandemic, Coronavirus Air Peace will suspend of all its flight services.
“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 23.00hrs on Friday (an hour before midnight on Friday) the 27th day of March, 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.”
The airline said it has to be equally noted that passenger traffic in the last three weeks has slumped drastically as a result of this pandemic, so it is therefore very unwise to continue raking up avoidable costs that the airline could ill afford.
She stated : “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.
“While the suspension is on, we are, however, willing to do special flights both for the government and our people. Normal scheduled flight operations shall resume on April 20, 2020. We regret any inconvenience this decision may have caused our teeming passengers.”
Aero Contractors, according to a statement, by its management said it took the decision in cognizance of the commendable efforts of Federal Government to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
The statement reads : ” We at Aero Contractors have decided to suspend flight services in support of initiatives / precaution to ensure that there is no community infection in the country.
“This is also in line with the decision of the Lagos State Government, which has prohibited any gathering that is more than 20 persons.
“Coronavirus, known as COVID-19 is a global threat to our humanity and considering its devastating effect on many countries where it has led to death of thousands of people, we have decided to make this onerous sacrifice by suspending our flight operations for two weeks, effective Midnight 26 March, 2020. After the two week duration, we will review the progress made and take a decision on resumption of operations.
“We therefore crave the understanding of our esteemed customers to recognize our decision as a responsible corporate citizen and our support for full Government effort to protect our citizens.
“We have also taken care of all the future schedule of our customers and will ensure that those who have booked flights with us will be taken to their destinations in our usual safe and efficient service.”