• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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FG engages stakeholders to resolve aviation fuel scarcity


Federal Government of Nigeria is engaging stakeholders involved with the procurement and distribution of aviation fuel to ensure its availability.

This is coming at a period when there have been incessant flight cancellations and delays within Nigeria.

Four major airlines operating in Nigeria were forced to hike fares by an average of 13.9 percent recently following scarcity of Jet A1, also known as aviation fuel.

Analysts say airfares may jump yet again on the back of soaring inflation, which climbed to 16.5 percent in June (year-on-year), the highest since 2005.

According to a statement signed by Adebanji Ola, Arik Air spokesman, “For the past week, the airline had to face another round of aviation fuel scarcity, which got worse over this weekend leading to many flight delays and cancellations.”

The airline operates an average of 120 daily flights requiring about 500,000 litres of fuel daily. Due to the large number of domestic and international flights, it is the most impacted by the inability of oil marketers to meet its daily fuel requirements on a timely and consistent basis.

“This has forced the airline to postpone flights while waiting for the fuel marketers to source and deliver the product. On many occasions, despite all efforts in engaging the marketers if fuel could not be sourced, the flights may eventually be cancelled causing not only revenue loss for the airline but also inconveniencing or stranding the passengers,” Ola said.

Arik Air has identified supply and infrastructural challenges of the marketers as some of the key factors responsible for the epileptic supply of aviation fuel.

Kingsley Ezenwa, spokesperson for Dana Air, said the fuel scarcity was also affecting their operations but the airline was still monitoring the situation to know the next step to take.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has also called on passengers who are experiencing the attendant flight delays and cancellations arising from the scarcity of the situation to exercise restraint.

This call is necessary due to reports of passengers’ rage and violence from some of the nation’s airports in the last few days. In some cases, irate passengers have resorted to wanton destruction of certain facilities at the airports.

Spokesman for the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, says the regulatory authority agrees absolutely with the passengers that the conditions of carriage on their tickets must be upheld by the operating airlines. In other words, it is our statutory responsibility to ensure that passengers derive value for their money.

In addition, Adurogboye says the NCAA is well primed to ensure that all aggrieved passengers’ complaints are professionally handled by our consumer protection officers, adding that these include flight cancellations, delays, missing baggage, denied boarding, etc.

However, the authority has inform all passengers that it is well aware of the prevailing scarcity of Jet A1, which has inevitably led to flight cancellations and delays by the airlines.

The NCAA has also taken cognisance of concerted efforts being made by the airlines to ensure that all passengers are ferried without any hitches.

“All passengers are therefore enjoined to exercise caution while expressing their grievances, as the airlines are grappling with the challenges thrown up by the non-availability of Jet A1.

“On the other hand, the airline operators must ensure they adhere strictly to the Standard and Recommended Practices in their operations. Passengers must be informed of any development concerning their flights well ahead of time,” Adurogboye says.