Experts at FAAN summit raise concern over Jet A1 fuel contamination claims

 

  • Operators differ on modalities to check fuel quality
  • Iyayi urges authority’s focus on the ‘Business Triangle’ 

 

Stakeholders have expressed divergent views on the quality of aviation fuel sold in the country. They were of the view that trucking of Jet A1 from the depots to the airports has been reported to have led to the contamination of the commodity; a situation they said erodes air safety.

The pipeline meant to transport aviation fuel to the Lagos local airport but which has been sitting idle for 30 years should be repaired to ease fuel supply to airlines, industry stakeholders have said.

While the former Commandant, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (Rtd) and some other stakeholders stated that there were various reports before the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) indicating contamination of the product with many domestic carriers not having the equipment to undertake final screening before it is dispensed into aircraft, Chairman, Air Peace Airlines, Mr. Allen Onyema and Mr. John Abegunde, a top official of CITA Petroleum Nigeria Limited disagreed.

They spoke at the ongoing FAAN National Aviation Conference in Abuja with the theme, “Advancing the frontiers of possibilities for safe, secure, and profitable air transport”.

Onyema who took exception to an earlier comment made by Abegunde that only foreign carriers have the necessary equipment to screen fuel supplied to them by Nigerian oil marketers before dispensing into aircraft said Nigerian carriers would never cut corners and tried as much as possible to subject fuel sold to them before allowing it for usage.

Ojikutu, who is also Secretary-General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, wondered why the pipeline designed to transport fuel from Ejigbo to the Lagos airport could not have been repaired by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited since 1992 after it was ruptured.

According to Ojikutu, “It would have cost about $9.2m then to replace the ruptured pipes but sadly, nothing was done or had been seriously considered to be done. Rather, tankers have been bridging the supply from the NNPC depots, with the cost of transportation and demurrage added, and having to for days and sometimes weeks to discharge at the airport depots.”

“The best practice is the piping of Jet A1 to the airport. We spend a lot of money on fuel contamination. The remote cause of accidents is seen in engine problems through fuel contaminated aviation fuel. Reports show that most of the aviation fuel in Nigeria is contaminated”.

They said if the pipeline was functional; the trucking of aviation fuel to the airport would be avoided, thereby reducing the overall costs being incurred by airlines.

The CITA chief stated that all the fuel supplied had been of high quality, hinting that trucking the commodity from the depots to the airports is safe same as piping it through to the airport.

He however stated that for efficiency, it would be better to supply Jet A1 to the airlines through a more decent and less cumbersome way of piping.

Meanwhile, a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Roland Iyayi has backed the plan by the Federal Government to concession some Nigerian airports.

He disclosed that airport concession would address two major problems currently adversely impacting the performance of FAAN. Iyayi listed the problems as cross-subsidization of airports and charging aviation fees at the same level for all airports which encourages major domestic airlines to concentrate their operations in the “Business Triangle”;

 

Iyayi

He however stated that the agency’s focus on the “Business Triangle” deprives the secondary airports of the necessary traffic to generate financially positive operational conditions……hence “unviable”.

Iyayi, in his presentation entitled, “Nigerian Airport System: Addressing Nigeria’s Unviable Airports Syndrome – Constraints and Evolving Sustainable Growth Strategie”, wants FAAN to develop the aerotropolis model at the Lagos and Abuja airports, develop national air connectivity, the need by the Ministry of Aviation to establish a national air transportation stabilization board and to develop Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos into a strategic regional hub.

Wole Shadare