Nigeria airlines suspend plans to ground flights

STORY: A number of Nigerian airlines have - at the 11th hour - suspended their plan to ground all domestic flights.

That's according to the Airline Operators of Nigeria association, which had been threatening a shutdown from Monday (May 9) amid soaring fuel prices.

Airlines complain they are paying for jet fuel upfront and in cash at 700 naira, or $1.69, per liter.

That price has more than doubled this year, partly because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine , which it calls a "special military operation".

The situation is exacerbated as passengers pay for fares in naira - which has weakened sharply due to devaluations - but fuel suppliers are paid in dollars, a scarce currency in Africa's top economy.

However the Airline Operators of Nigeria has been under pressure from government, consumer protection bodies and customers to shelve the planned shutdown since it was announced on Friday (May 6).

The move was suspended late on Sunday (May 8), hours before it was due to take effect.

A previous threat to stop flights was averted by government financial assistance.