All Air Nigeria flight operations nationwide are to be shut down effective from Monday next week.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the directive for the closure of the airline’s operations was handed down by its billionaire businessman owner, Jimoh Ibrahim, who also reportedly ordered that all, but 50 of the workers on the company’s payroll, be sacked with immediate effect.
The Airline’s Public Affairs Manager, Sam Ogbogoro, could not confirm nor deny the report, although he directed inquiries at the Chairman of the company.
“I am sorry I don’t have any information on this. Why don’t you reach Air Nigeria Chairman directly,” Mr. Ogbogoro told our reporter who called on Wednesday from Abuja to confirm the report. The manager advised the reporter to work with the information available to him.
But it was gathered that the decision to order the temporary shutdown of the airline operations was as a result of allegations of “staff disloyalty and the anti-business environment in the aviation sector”.
The airline, which had continued to run regional and international flights after the government suspended its domestic operations on bankruptcy allegations a few months ago, said the decision to shut down flight operations would remain in force for at least one year.
The company however expressed regrets for any inconveniences the decision would cause its passengers on all the routes across the country, and advised affected customers to contact agents from whom they had purchased their tickets for appropriate attention and necessary refunds.
Mr. Ibrahim assured customers the airline would survive its current ordeals, adding that the decision to suspend operation is for the good of all stakeholders.
“Corporations are like individuals who naturally will get sick and the usual thing to do is to admit them in the hospital, either for corporate surgery or for treatment, as the case may be,” Mr. Ibrahim is quoted to have said.
“The period of the temporary shut down of flight operations is to enable management to find a cure for the problem that have been identified.”