For some time now, air travelers particularly those on the domestic scene have been subjected to hardship inflicted on them by the non-availability of aviation fuel and the subsequent flight delay and cancellation by the domestic airlines.
While many of the passengers have become miserable with the unstable situation, the airlines are at the receiving end with passengers mounting pressure on them even as they go in search of Jet A1, the other name for aviation fuel.
Some of the airlines had raised the alarm of how the commodity has continued to be unavailable despite the astronomical price the oil marketers sell it.
Presently, the product is selling for as high as N180 per litre in Lagos while it sells for between N195 and N200 in other places like Abuja and Kano.
Arik Air had in the past weeks cried out over the negative effects the non-availability of the commodity has on its operations which the management claimed if not tackled urgently may hinder the operations of the airline.
According to the airline, since the beginning of this year, Nigeria has been grappling with inadequate supply of aviation fuel leading in most cases to severe shortage of the product and consequently the disruption of flight operations.
Dana Air is another domestic operator that has complained about the scarcity of aviation fuel which it said had not really helped its flight services to the flying public.
Just like the two, Medview Airline though has not cancelled or delayed its flights based on the agreement the airline has with its oil marketer.
While the airline is sacrificing so much to keep its operations ongoing, it is doing so at a great expense of having to buy the commodity at a very high rate.
Unfortunately, the rate at which the airlines are being forced to delay or cancel their flights with passengers getting agitated across the airports is heating up the challenges confronting the sector.
The situation is which already setting passengers against the airlines is reached its peak in the week with passengers said to have engaged some airline workers in physical combat over flight delays.
While passengers have the right to ask questions over flight delays or cancellations, it is also important to realise that the airlines do not produce the commodity but are mere consumers.
Left for the airlines, they will prefer to avoid flight delays or cancellations since regular operations mean more money to them, therefore, the blame for the present situation should not be put on them but on the oil marketers and the government.
It is in line with this that the Crucial Moment is supporting the call by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on passengers who to exercise restraint as against the ongoing reports of passengers’ rage and violence which have resorted to wanton destruction of certain facilities at the airports.
The NCAA should however go beyond appealing to passengers, but prevail on government to urgently meet with the oil marketers to resolve this issue which has become an albatross to domestic airline operations in Nigeria.
The airlines are unnecessarily losing money to the situation amidst other economic challenges confronting them.
Obviously, the country has become very unfriendly to the domestic airlines particularly the few existing ones still struggling to keep the sector running.
While the airlines are doing everything possible to keep air transport going, government should play its own part by ensuring a more friendly environment for private business.