In recent times due to the recent drop in the price of crude oil there has been some sort of a ripple effect where there is either a spike in price of its constituents (e.g. Kerosene, PMS, AGO) or an outright scarcity. For the case of Aviation fuel it’s the latter, this past weekend a lot of Nigerian Domestic flights had to either reschedule or even cancel their flights as a result of the scarcity.
The scarcity of aviation fuel, popularly called Jet-A1, did not only disrupt flight activities at airports across the country, but also affected private and government programmes in the Federal Capital Territory. It was learnt that several programmes in Abuja were either postponed or delayed as key personnel who were to anchor strategic meetings could not arrive on schedule or did not arrive at all.
A large amount of travellers were left stranded at the domestic terminals of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, some stranded passengers leaving Lagos had to wait till as late as 10pm before they could actually travel, airlines siting the scarcity as the key factor contributing to the delays.
At the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Abuja, a programme that was meant to hold around noon did not commence until around 2.30pm despite the fact that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was seated for hours waiting for committee members who were supposed to make presentations at the event.
It was later gathered that the committee members could not make it to Abuja as a result of the problems caused by the non-availability of aviation fuel, which affected their flights.
Arik Air announced that it was grappling with flight schedule disruptions due to the severity of the situation across the country.
It stated that since the beginning of the year, the country had 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.
According to Arik Air, for the past week, it has had to face another round of aviation fuel scarcity, which got worse over the weekend, leading to many flight delays and cancellations. The airline operates an average of 120 daily flights requiring about 500,000 litres of fuel each day.
Arik Air stated, “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 cannot be sourced, the flights may eventually be cancelled, causing not only revenue loss for the airline, but also inconveniencing or stranding the passengers.”
According to the carrier, 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.