FG Moves to End Chronic Aviation Fuel Scarcity

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Chinedu Eze

The federal government has stepped in to put an end to the protracted scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1), which has paralised flight operations for weeks.

The government has started engaging oil marketers and others involved in the procurement and distribution of the product with the aim to ensure it was made available to the airlines.

This was disclosed monday by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye.

The authority said the federal government has engaged all the stakeholders involved with the procurement and distribution of aviation fuel to ensure availability in earnest.

It therefore enjoined all passengers to exercise caution while expressing their grievances as the airlines were grappling with the challenges thrown up by the non- availability of Jet A1.

On the other hand, NCAA called on the airline operators and said they must ensure they adhered strictly to the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in their operations, insisting that passengers must be informed of any development concerning their flights well ahead of time.

NCAA however urged passengers who were experiencing the attendant flight delays and cancellations arising from the scarcity of aviation fuel to exercise restraint.

The regulatory body said this call was necessary due to reports of passengers’ rage and violence from some of the nation’s airports in the last few days.

“In some cases irate passengers have resorted to wanton destruction of certain facilities at the airports,” said NCAA.

The regulatory authority said it absolutely agreed with the passengers that the conditions of carriage on their tickets must be upheld by the operating airlines.

“In other words, it is our statutory responsibility to ensure that passengers derive value for their money,” the Authority said.

In addition, NCAA said it was poised to ensure that all aggrieved passengers’ complaints were professionally handled by its Consumer Protection Officers.

“These include flight cancellations, delays, missing baggage, denied boarding etc. However, the Authority wishes to inform all passengers that it is well aware of the prevailing scarcity of Jet A1, which has inevitably led to flight cancellations and delays by the airlines,” the body said.

It also disclosed that it had taken cognizance of concerted efforts being made by the airlines to ensure that all passengers were “ferried without any hitches”.

The scarcity of Jet A1 at the weekend led to the cancellation of over 60 percent of flights meant for domestic destinations.

This led to fracas at some airports as some passengers who desperately wanted to travel to their destinations lost their temper and physically confronted airline officials.
Industry operators said aviation fuel scarcity has adversely affected the economy of the country, as air transport is the fasted way of delivering persons, cargo and services, used by top government officials and business leaders.