Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nigeria: Scarcity of Aviation Fuel Grounds Air Travels

Lagos — Thousands of air travelers were, yesterday, stranded in Lagos and other airports across the country, following scarcity of Jet A1 commonly known as aviation fuel, crippling flight operations in most parts of the country.

Investigation by Vanguard revealed that the scarcity started on Monday, forcing some of the airlines to either delay, cancel or merge their flight operations.

At the time of this report, no reason has been given for the scarcity.

It was gathered that Aero Contractor Airline went as far as Kaduna on Monday to purchase the product and before returning to Lagos to airlift passengers.

In Lagos, hundreds of passengers were stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two, MMA2, and the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, as they could not secure flights to their destinations.

Vanguard gathered that some of the aircraft, which departed Lagos, could not return to base because of lack of fuel.

It was gathered that some foreign airlines were heading to Accra, Ghana to source for fuel since they were finding it difficult to get in Nigeria.

An operator who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "for the past two days, domestic airlines have been grappling with the challenge of scarcity of JET A1, which might worsen in the days ahead."

According to him, the scarcity of aviation fuel was affecting major flights in and out of the Abuja Airport.

When contacted, Managing Director of IRS Airlines, Mr. Yemi Dada, confirmed the scarcity of the product and called on independent fuel marketers to make it available in order not to impact negatively on the operations of domestic airlines.

According to him: "I can confirm to you that aviation fuel is scarce and it could impact negatively on airline operations, if the scarcity persists. Though the price has not increased, the product is not available.

"For now, aviation fuel sells for between N160 and N180 per litre. We are appealing to the fuel marketers to make the product available."