29 July 2013, Lagos – As the scarcity of aviation fuel mounts in Nigeria, the Federal Government has been urged to give more license to independent fuel marketers in the aviation industry to allow them import JET A1 otherwise known as aviation fuel as a fast remedy.
Out-going Secretary General of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur made the call while speaking with newsmen at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
According to Alhaji Tukur, the major reason for the scarcity of aviation fuel is that, it is only one fuel marketer that is supplying the product at the moment stressing that if the government should allow other independent marketers into the system, the scarcity of aviation fuel will become a thing of the past.
He said “The major reason for the scarcity of aviation fuel is that, it is only one marketer that is supplying fuel at present as I am talking to you. So the government should give more hands and allow other marketers to supply aviation fuel and with that I think this problem of scarcity of the product will be a thing of the past”
“So what the government should do, is that they should allow everybody to go and import the fuel and bring it or they should give people more license to come into the system, Sahara oil and other oil marketers, they have made some difference and that is why they have not increase the price of aviation fuel, because in Nigeria people feel that anything goes, so people are trying to take any slight opportunity to increase the fuel price but for now airline operators will not increase their airfares because if they do so, it is going to be a suicide mission because nobody will fly” he added.
He however pointed out that he believes that the fuel marketers did not foresee the scarcity of the product adding that if they did, they would have alerted the airline operators and the effect of the scarcity would not have affected their flight operations as it is affecting them with several delays and cancellation of their flights at the mercy of the Nigerian travelling public.
“First of all, if the fuel marketers knew that they were expecting this, they should have notified the operators so that the operators can be able to adjust their flight operations, not for somebody just wake up one day like yesterday and there is no aviation fuel, do you understand, because it is only one marketer that is supplying the product for now, except maybe the oil marketers, they are trying to blackmail the Federal Government because of the problem that they are going through with the minister of petroleum but I don’t think that this should affect aviation fuel, flight operations as well as the masses who travel from one place to another, it doesn’t make sense” he said.
When contacted, Head of Corporate Communications, Dana Airline Mr. Tony Usidamen said the scarcity of aviation fuel did not affect the airline’s operations as the airline gets it direct supply from the marketer who has the product at the moment.
According to Mr. Usidamen, it is the big fuel marketers that have run out of supply, the smaller ones still have fuel and we get our supply from them and I don’t see any reason to complain because the scarcity of aviation fuel does not affect us and we don’t have any intention to increase our airfares”
*Daniel Eteghe, Vanguard