In spite of the recent sigh of relief by domestic airline operators that passengers traffic is gradually increasing after the lull arising from the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions, passengers are still experiencing flight delays and cancellations. Many have wondered why the airlines are not taking advantage of the rise in passengers traffic to increase flight frequency and make more money to mitigate the losses they suffered during the COVID-19 lockdown world wide.
However, a critical look at the sector will reveal that airline operators are still battling with situations beyond their immediate control. They want to take advantage of the current security situation in the country which has made air travel the safest means of travel. But there are still problems confronting them. Some of these problems include the COVID-19 pandemic which is developing new strains in some countries. This has made some of these countries not to fully lift restrictions on movements and travels.
These countries with second wave of COVID-19 have aircraft maintenance facilities where some domestic airline operators took their aircraft for routine mandatory maintenance before restrictions and lockdown were imposed to curtail the pandemic.
Most of these aircraft are currently trapped in these facilities because of slow pace of work as the workforce of these facilities were drastically reduce during the lockdown. The maintenance facilities are also waiting for full lifting of restrictions on travels around the world to enable businesses to pick up, especially with private jet owners clients, before recalling their redundant staff.
Scarcity of forex Also, difficulty in accessing forex needed by some domestic airlines to carry out their routine maintenance which are mostly done outside the country due to absence of standard Maintenance Repair Organisations, MRO, in the country, is another factor that has contributed to flight delays and cancellations. Only new airlines which recently joined the Nigerian domestic aviation sector are currently not reeling from the scarcity of forex as their planes are not due for maintenance yet.
They will be due in the next 18 months when they will be expected to go for mandatory checks of their aircraft.
Culled from vanguardngr.com