Air Peace, Arik Air, and Aero Contractors, which together account for about 70 percent of the domestic aviation industry, will be suspending all scheduled commercial flight operations in response to the increasing coronavirus cases.
While Air Peace and Arik Air will suspend operations by midnight of Friday, March 27, 2020, Aero Contractors will suspend operations on Thursday March 26, 2020.
The management of Arik said the airline 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.
The airline said 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.
Roy Ilegbodu, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, stressed: “The safety and well-being of our valued customers is paramount at this period of health emergency. We implore everyone to keep safe and abide by all directives issued by governmental authorities.”
In a statement signed by Toyin Olajide, its Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace said, “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,” she said.
The airline said that 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.
In the same vein, the management of Aero Contractors has said it will be suspending flight operations for 14 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement issued by the company, it stated that “In cognizance of the commendable efforts of the Federal Government to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, we at Aero Contractors have decided to suspend flight services in support of initiatives and 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.”