Few months ago, I asked a rhetorical question in one of my posts, ‘when crude price goes beyond $100, what will happen to businesses and the cost of petroleum products in the country?’ That was when all stakeholders would have started negotiations and reached agreements on what to do should costs of doing business become unbearable.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have threatened to shut down airline operations in Nigeria from Monday, May 09, 2022, because of the high cost of Aviation fuel. As much as they have their inalienable rights to withdraw their services, how will they feel if their staff issued them three days ultimatum the way they have served theirs on the Nigerian public? Didn’t they envision this challenge to enable them plan for it? Unionism no easy o.
It seems the AON forgot they have entered into some contractual agreements subsisting, which they must fulfil? How will they deal with the tickets already purchased by passengers? Do they know that by issuing the flight tickets, they have signed contracts to fly passengers to their various destinations for that amount and at the stated time? If there were no aviation Kero to fuel the planes, it would be a different ball game because that would have been a product of a force majeure.
If pricing was the issue, all they need to do from Monday is increase their prices for new bookings. No matter the high cost of tickets, there are Nigerians who can always afford to purchase flight tickets to fly. Nigerians that cannot afford it will seek alternative means of traveling. Alternatively, AON should stop further sales of tickets, discharge the obligations already entered into, and park their planes.
This AON’s action will hurt it because many of their prime targets have private jets that can readily be deployed for leasing to help the elites survive. So it is not about the masses but a capitalist system seeking to feather its nests through bailouts and subsidies. I have no problem if they could get the bail out or repayable grants but surely not subsidy
For the masses, they have fallen and need fear no fall. They have long developed tick skins to the insecurity on our roads—time for the elites to taste a bit of it.
My advice is that they should go back to the negotiation table. On a long term basis, let them prepare to start petroleum importing business, build tank farms and modular refineries. This is the only way they can extricate themselves from fluctuating petroleum prices and uncertainties.
Grace and peace!!!