The current scarcity of aviation fuel known as Jet A1 as bitten hard into the aviation industry as flights schedule have been disrupted and passengers left stranded at airports. The current scarcity is due to the inability of fuel marketers to meet daily fuel requirements and has affected business for both the airlines and passengers as private and public events had to be cancelled due to inability of passengers to book flight.
The shortage which started since the beginning of the year reached its highest over the weekend and has been attributed to low stock as marketers are finding it difficult to source foreign exchange to import Jet A1 fuel.
According to a Punch report, passengers were unable to book substitute flights as all flights to the Federal Capital Territory had been fully booked as at 5pm yesterday (Monday, July18 2016).
Distribution of the product has been another challenge as the “discharging of vessels bringing Jet-A1 and other petroleum products are done in the same Jetty, and loading various trucks for distribution to cities like Kano or Abuja takes considerable effort and time, “Arik Air said.
Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd), in an interview with Daily Trust, stressed the need for repair of damaged pipelines supplying fuel from Ejigbo and Mosimi depots to Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, where 70 per cent of aviation fuel was consumed.
He suggested to airlines to undertake the repair since the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was not willing to do it.
Ojikutu who is an aviation expert also said: “Just as the marketers are not sincere, the operators, too, are equally guilty. Ask yourself, why is there no PMS scarcity and there is scarcity of kerosene and Jet A1, even when government has given an open door to whosoever wants to import?
“Find those who own the tankers, those who import fuel and some owners of defunct airlines with AOL (Air Operators License) that have no aircraft flying but still have access to fuel with the marketers and sell at ridiculous price to operating airlines.”
Meanwhile, airline operators have continued to decry the situation as they are finding it difficult to meet schedule.
Arik Air which is one of the worst hit by the fuel crisis announced that it was grappling with flight schedule disruptions due to the severity of the situation across the country and has been forced to postpone and cancel flights as they are waiting for the fuel marketers to source and deliver the product.
Mr Obi Mbanuzuo, the manager of Dana issued in a statement through her spokesperson Kingsley Okwudili saying, “We sincerely apologise to our teeming guests for the delays experienced recently and regret the inconveniences caused. The recent delays have not really helped our desire and commitment to take our passengers to their destinations on schedule.”
The Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide has appealed to the Federal Government and aviation authorities to intervene and provide a lasting solution to the lingering scarcity of Jet A1 fuel.
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