Recurring jet fuel crisis: Operators groan, warn of impending flight disruptions

In what is fast becoming a norm in the country’s aviation industry, airline operators under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have warned of an impending disruption of flight operations due to what they tagged aviation fuel scarcity.

The implication of the new fuel saga is that thousands of travelers would be left stranded particularly at this Yuletide.

The operators’ spokesman, Prof. Obiorah Okonkwo, who is the chairman of United Nigeria Airline disclosed that scarcity of jet fuel reared its ugly head again in the past few days.

“We wish to inform the general public of impending disruptions in scheduled flight operations due to the scarcity of aviation fuel, otherwise known as JET-A1, which reared its ugly head again in the last few days”.

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The scarcity, he said will no doubt force airlines to reschedule flights leading to late operations and, or, cancellations.

This unintended development according to him is a pain on airline operators and a stain on the industry, especially at this time of mass movement of people for the Christmas and New Year festivities.

“While we do our utmost best to manage the situation and ensure safe flight operations, we plead the understanding of the traveling public in the circumstance”.

“We also call on the concerned authorities including product importers and marketers to do their best to resolve this ugly situation so as to ease the stress it brings on the travelling public”.

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“As Airline Operators, we remain committed to doing all that is necessary to ensure seamless services and safe air travels in our dear country”.

The aviation sector in Nigeria is plagued with jet fuel scarcity and this results in flight delays, rescheduling, and cancellations. Jet fuel scarcity and the escalating cost are products of multifaceted factors that are related to finance, logistics, management, and policy.

Hundred percent of the jet fuel consumption in Nigeria is imported; this creates pressure on the jet fuel supply chain.

Jet fuel supply companies, both indigenous and multinational, are privately owned with no state-vested investment. Jet fuel is imported by these companies or by Intermediate Shore Depots owners based on their business projections and financial resources.

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Hence, importation may not be sufficient to meet national needs. Also, the importation timeline is not very well structured, and this arrangement can easily result in supply disruptions.

Wole Shadare