Passengers stranded as aviation fuel hits N170/litre

 The perennial scarcity of aviation fuel yesterday led to stranding of passengers as marketers raised the price of the commodity from between N114 and N116 to between N150, N160 and N170 per litre depending on the location.

In Lagos, aviation fuel, otherwise known as JET A1, goes for N150 per litre, while it costs N160 and N170 in Abuja and Kano respectively.

Consequently, passengers across the country’s airports were left stranded as airlines rescheduled their flights over scarcity of the commodity. Most of the airlines had their flights either rescheduled or cancelled, prompting many others to take to road.

Aircraft Fuel

Managing Director of FirstNation Airlines, Mr. Kayode Odukoya, confirmed Jet A1 scarcity when sought to know what led to flight rescheduling.

Aviation fuel is central to the operations of an airline as it constitutes between 35-40 per cent of an airline’s cost. The price of the commodity – laden with taxes – in Africa is the highest in the West African sub- region.

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While the specialised fuel is sold for about $2.30 cents per litre in Nigeria, $2.30 in Benin and $1.94 cents per litre in Cameroon, it is sold for close to $3.14 cents per litre in Ghana.

Jet fuel prices in some African capitals are double the global average and it is posing a threat to its aviation sector development.

The high cost of jet fuel in Africa compared to other regions due to distribution inefficiencies and infrastructure constraints has held back the development of airlines and fare reduction.

Apart from the issues of highly priced jet fuel, Africa’s jet fuel shortfall is expected to triple from 1.8 million mt in 2013 to around 5.2 million mt by 2025.

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As a result of the high fuel price, ticket prices are relatively high. If the fuel price comes down and cost of operations comes down, airlines are likely to bring down their fares.

Today, fuel prices globally average per 1.3 dollar. In Africa, it ranges between $2 and $3.77. In some places, more than twice what it is globally.

Vice-President for Africa, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Raphael Kuuchi said on the average, they notice that fuel price is 21 per cent more expensive in Africa than the world average.

“In addition to that, we brought these taxes together. Africa is not a rich continent and we ask, why must we be paying the most? If you look at the high fuel taxes in Africa, the victims are actually oil producers”.

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He lamented that in most of the oil producing countries; aviation fuel is mostly expensive, adding that it is baffling.

In other countries, he noted that governments try to build new airports and make a choice to raise the tax on existing passengers to raise revenue to pay airport and our question has always been, ‘why should a passenger flying today pay for an airport tomorrow, which he might never use?’


Wole Shadare