Aviation Fuel Scarcity Hits Airlines Harder
…As Arik Air, Dana, Air Peace Delay, Cancel Flights
The aviation fuel scarcity that started last week has continued to affect domestic airlines in the country, as this has forced them to continue to delay, merge and cancel flights.
The delays and cancellations have made passengers, who were to be airlifted from one destination to the other stranded while airline operators on the other hand incurred losses.
At the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), Dana n Air flights were delayed, as passengers were seen discussing in twos and threes while waiting for airline officials to address the issue.
At Aero’s counters ,it was not clear if the airline delayed or cancelled flights, as officials of the airline that were approached were not ready to speak on the issue.
For example, Arik Air stated that it was grappling with flight schedule disruptions due to the severe scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1) across the country.
An online statement signed by the Airline’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, Mr. Adebanji Ola, explained that since the beginning of this year, Nigeria has been grappling with inadequate supply of aviation fuel leading in most cases to severe shortage of the product and consequently the disruption of flight operations.
He added that for the past week, the airline had to face another round of aviation fuel scarcity, which according to him got worse over this weekend leading to many flight delays and cancellations.
Adebanji hinted that the airline operates an average of 120 daily flights requiring about 500,000 litres of fuel daily and that 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, he said has forced the airline to postpone flights while waiting for the fuel marketers to source and deliver the product, adding that 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.
According Adebanji, “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. At the root of the fuel supply crisis is low stock due to the inability of marketers to source for the foreign exchange to import more Jet A1 fuel into the country. “
He stated that there was also a distribution 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.
The situation in the North, he said is even more difficult since the product takes longer to be delivered due to the trucking distance, adding that oil marketers have also resorted to trucking of aviation fuel to the airports because hydrants are not consistently available at the airports.
Adebanji also stated that it was working on a longer term plan which would be finalised in the coming months to mitigate this situation and to be in a better position to address such supply shortages and delays.
“While the Federal Government and oil marketers are working hard to address the supply and distribution challenges, we appeal to our guests to bear with us as they may experience flights delays and cancelations because of the prevailing scarcity of aviation fuel across the country. Marketers have assured that the situation would improve this week as they are expecting delivery of additional stock.” he said
Arik said that where flights are likely to be delayed or cancelled, Arik Air will notify passengers through SMS and do all possible to accommodate passengers on the first available alternate flight.