Why aviation fuel scarcity bites harder, operators bemoan flight delays, cancellations


The oscillating prices of aviation fuel, JetA1 coupled with its scarcity in some airports in the country could result in delays and cancellations of flights operations in a couple of days ahead, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) warned on Monday. 

The AON spokesman, Professor Obiora Okonkwo in an electronic statement explained already, airlines operations are being impacted negatively with airlines either rescheduling or outrightly cancelling scheduled flights. 

A Chief Operating Officer of one of the domestic airlines who spoke to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday specifically said the worst affected airport was Abuja as operators could not get the needed fuel for flight. 

The COO said while JetA1 supply has relatively stabilised in Lagos, fuel suppliers has adduced delays in transportation of the commodity from Lagos to Abuja for the current hiccups as he disclosed that fuel tankers conveying JetA1 to the Federal Capital Territory are stuck in Kogi state. 

The AON document said “The Airline Operators of Nigeria wish to alert the public of impending disruptions to scheduled flight operations of members of the association. This development is being forced on members by the growing scarcity of aviation fuel popular as Jet-Al.

“The scarcity is impacting negatively on the seamless conduct of air transport operations and would lead to flight rescheduling, and, or, cancellations”.

Professor Okonkwo however said the airlines umbrella body is working round the clock AON in collaboration with product marketers, government and relevant stakeholders to ensure availability and proper pricing of the product in the country.

“While pleading the understanding of the flying public in the face of this reality, we also promise to do all that is necessary, and within our powers, to restore normal flight schedules as soon as possible”, the spokesman explained further.

Asked why the fuel disruptive situation continue, the airline COO, who crave anonymity told our correspondent that “Honestly I don’t know. The people that can answer that will be the marketers, because the whole of yesterday we didn’t lift fuel in Abuja until late. I had to personally call the MDs of two of the companies begging for supply to be coming to us, 3000 litres. To enable us not disappoint passengers because 115 passengers are already scheduled to be airlifted”

“because they had to take return fuel from Lagos so the scarcity was more in Abuja than in any other location so on Saturday we didn’t fuel in Abuja, we didn’t on Friday too, only yesterday and it was war. There wasn’t any scarcity in Lagos but this one was clearly in Abuja.

Today we didn’t fuel, it’s the trucks, they say trucks are on their way from Lagos to Abuja because they come by road and the tanker drivers can decide to park in Lokoja and relax. We don’t know what they do the only thing we know is that we’re not getting fuel. Today out of Lagos we have two tankers with close to 3500litres.” 

“It’s all about this and the struggle as to where/how to benchmark the price we have not settled. The discussion is still ongoing. Ask the marketers because they hold us to ransom. There’s nobody who brings out his aircraft that does not want to fly and you’re telling 115 passengers that they can’t fly and also because of this weather.”