Aviation Fuel Scarcity May Paralyse Flight Operations


Chinedu Eze

Aviation fuel scarcity, which started last weekend, may get worse as the yuletide draws near and the prices of the product expected to skyrocket as it happened in the previous years.

The scarcity since the beginning of the week has affected flight operations and led to delays and cancellations, especially Abuja to Lagos flights, which is the busiest route in domestic flight service.

THISDAY learnt that only very few flights operated on schedules as flights going from Lagos to major destinations such as Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Owerri and Enugu were either cancelled or delayed.

The prices of the product which in the last few weeks were about N180 to N200 per litre has increased to between N210 and N215 in Lagos.

Airline operator who spoke to THISDAY confirmed the scarcity, saying it started last weekend, but eased last Monday but got worse on Tuesday and there are indications that the scarcity would continue in the next few weeks as he alleged that fuel marketers usually create artificial scarcity during the yuletide in order to increase the prices of the product.

THISDAY also gathered that the scarcity might have been caused by the delay in trucking the product from depots in Apapa due to the chronic gridlock that has paralysed the road to the nation’s major seaport.

The CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, who confirmed the scarcity told THISDAY, that the issue of the prices of Jet A1 has to be reviewed because in the situation where “you wake up you learn that they have increased the prices of Jet A1 by 30 per cent. And you cannot quickly adjust your ticket prices to reflect that but you have to buy that Jet A1 at the new prices in order to operate your flights that day, but the passengers have bought their tickets for that day’s flight at the old fares.

“It is only in this country that this is done and I think that there must be a way of introducing the new price regime, recognising that we are in a free market and it is not regulated. This will help you to know the cost of your operation every month, as you know that the price of fuel will not change and if it will change, they will notify you.

“I think the airlines should come together and pressurise the oil marketers so that they should do the right thing so that it won’t be something you just wake up and they have just increased their prices of Jet A1.”