30 April 2015, Lagos – Hundreds of commuters were left stranded at airports and bus stops across major cities in the country on Wednesday as a result of the scarcity of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) and aviation fuel (Jet A-1) to fuel commercial airplanes and motor vehicles.
As the scarcity of petrol continued unabated, our correspondent gathered that there was also limited supply of aviation fuel required to fly airplanes.
As a result of the limited supply of Jet A-1, some local carriers had to travel to neighbouring countries in a bid to get the commodity.
Hundreds of passengers, particularly at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos were left stranded as their flights were either delayed or cancelled outright.
Findings by our correspondent showed that of the 113 scheduled flights across the country on Wednesday, only 31 departed to their destinations on time, while 62 were delayed.
Arik Air had the highest number of delayed flights with 38, while only 14 of its scheduled local flights departed on time.
Aero Contractors had only three flights departing on time, while 19 others were delayed.
Arik Air and Aero Contractors are the two biggest domestic carriers in the country at the moment.
Confirming the scarcity of Jet A-1, Arik Air stated that that was the reason for the flight delays.
It said, “Flight delays and cancellations being experienced by our passengers in the last few days have been attributed to the general scarcity of aviation fuel in Lagos. There has been short supply of the product in Lagos and this has led to rationing by the petroleum product marketers.
“Signs of the scarcity started manifesting on Thursday, April 23, 2015 when the marketers were unable to meet the demands of the airlines, especially Arik Air, which by volume of its operations, requires a daily supply of between 600,000 litres and 800,000 litres of aviation fuel. The scarcity has impacted negatively on Arik Air’s operations as flights have had to be delayed or cancelled in cases where the destination airport has no airfield lighting.”
It noted that in some other cases, flights were diverted to other airports outside Lagos where the product was readily available.
The airline stated, “On Friday, Arik Air’s flight to London Heathrow had to go via Accra to take fuel. Also on Saturday, the same London flight had to go to Cotonou, Benin Republic first to fuel before coming back to Lagos for the outbound flight to Heathrow.”