Oscarline Onwuemenyi 12 July 2014, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigerians traveling by air within and outside the country are currently having nasty experience as the airline operators are battling with shortage supply of Jet – A1 – aircraft fuel.
The development which has caused disruptions in the flight schedules among some airlines operating from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, where our reporter observed a massive congestion in the departure hall stemming from many delayed flights.
An official of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, who spoke to Sweetcrude in Abuja noted that there has been some disruption in the flights by some airlines due to the shortage of jet-fuel, adding that such delays have led to worry among the passengers some of whom have waited endlessly without hope of making their journey.
He noted that the shortage may not be unconnected with recent fluctuation in the price – between N160 and N200 per litre of aviation fuel and this is despite the claim of making special order by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to ensure adequate supply of the product.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu has insisted that there is more than enough products in the country to serve the aviation sector for many days.
Yakubu, who was speaking in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State at a function organized for energy correspondents, noted that the Commission was not in the know about any scarcity in the aviation fuel.
He said, “From our stock today, we have 18 days sufficiency for aviation kerosine. We are not aware of any scarcity at this point. The market is deregulated; in fact, the NNPC is not necessarily a player in that sector. What we market is dual purpose kerosene, which is also used for the household.”
He noted, however, that there may be other commercial issues between the airlines and their customers or suppliers, an industry-wide phenomenon, which is always placed at the feet of the Corporation.
According to him, “What we have seen over the years is even when other operators in the industry run foul or act in unethical ways, the NNPC is the first port of call, and we appreciate that. We may not be aware of these events, but being the captains in the industry, we do well to monitor the entire national stock.
“We are not aware of any such scarcity in the aviation industry. It has not been brought to our attention. When it is brought to our attention, we will invite the stakeholders immediately to fully understand the challenge and map out strategies to resolve the matter,”Yakubu added.
Our correspondent spoke with some passengers who expressed disappointment and frustration about the situation, even as airline and airport staff appealed for calm and understanding as they said they were working on rescheduling some flights.