CRISIS has hit the aviation sector as acute scarcity of aviation has triggered disruption in flights by indigenous carriers.

The fallout of jet fuel scarcity is forcing local carriers to either delay or carry out an outright cancellation of scheduled flights.

Investigations by The Nation revealed that many passengers are stranded at airports nationwide on account of the development.

With many passengers getting worried over the effect of the disruption on their travel plans, some are considering other modes of transportation.

To douse the tension occasioned by the development, the Spokesperson of the local airlines’ umbrella body: Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), and Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, issued a travel advisory.

In a statement, he said:” This is to notify the members of the public, especially consumers of air transport services in the country, that the aviation sector has been hit by a major crisis with the acute scarcity of aviation fuel otherwise known as Jet-A1.

“For this reason, there will be major disruptions in scheduled flight operations including cancellations and unnecessary delays across all airports in the country.

“This is a foreseen but unintended consequence of the aviation fuel scarcity in the country.

“We, therefore, plead for the understanding of the travelling public to bear with our members as efforts are currently being made to address the development and restore normal flight operations.

“AON is committed to rendering seamless and uninterrupted air transport service across the country.”

Airlines to blacklist passengers who assault staff

In another development, the umbrella body of indigenous carriers, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON),  said it has concluded plans to blacklist aggrieved passengers who destroy airline property or assault airline staff.

Besides, the body said passengers  will be arrested and prosecuted, adding that such passengers risk the ban from being carried by members of the group.

The group said it would push for legal action to activate criminal action or civil suit.

Speaking in a statement made available to journalists, the AON condemned the recent attack on the property of Dana Air by passengers.

The AON said the air transport users who have issues with any operator have legally sanctioned avenues to seek redress.

According to the group, destroying airline property and assaulting staff of airline companies constitute criminal breaches and are not part of avenues sanctioned by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Competitions and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPA).

The statement signed by its spokesman, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, and titled: ‘AON Condemns Attack on Dana Air Property’ reads: “The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) condemns, in very strong terms, the attack on the property of Dana Air by passengers whose scheduled flights were affected by the grounding of the airline for operational audit.

Recall that Dana Air passengers on July 21, 2022, physically descended on, and damaged, the company’s property at the domestic wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, over the unexpected and unintended cancellation of their flight in what is now a force majeure.

Dana Air is currently undergoing an operational audit as ordered by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

It further reads :” We understand that Dana Air, as a responsible member of this association, had activated its feedback mechanism to inform passengers of the development and the cancellation of their flight.

“However, it is uncivilized for passengers to take laws into their own hands by destroying Dana Air property when there are approved mechanisms for redress.

“As an association, AON will no longer watch passengers destroy property of its affiliate members without adequate response.

“Henceforth, AON shall activate all available legal avenues to ensure that passengers caught destroying property of her members are brought to book and made to pay for such destruction.

“Once again, AON reminds consumers of the services of its members that no law permits the destruction of company property, and, or, physical assault on Airline staff, as redress.

“We make bold to say that such actions will be pursued from both criminal and civil law perspectives and may also include blacklisting and travel ban on member airlines.

“We encourage aggrieved passengers to explore NCAA-approved avenues for redress, including options at Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC), as the airline staff that are assaulted, and property that is damaged, cannot make up for whatever is the unintended consequence(s) of flight cancellations or delays.”