20 July 2016, Abuja – Scarcity of aviation fuel known as Jet A1, has affected the operations of some airlines at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja leading to cancellation of flights.
Several domestic flights had been cancelled since the beginning of the week nationwide as a result of the inability of airlines to get the product.
An official at the airport, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the situation was getting worse by the day. He added that the situation had drastically reduced the flow of traffic at the airport in the last few days.
Mr Abudulahi Saroke, Deputy Station Manager, Azman Airlines, said that the scarcity led to cancellation the airline’s flight to Yola on Wednesday. Saroke said that the cost of the fuel had skyrocketed to N190 per litre from the official price of N115, adding that Sahara had been the only supplier of the product since Tuesday.
He said that domestic carriers were the worst hit by the scarcity; as international airlines pay for their fuel ahead of time and also have opportunity to get it from other countries.
Saroke said that some foreign airlines buy aviation fuel from neighbouring Ghana and are not so much affected by the scarcity. “We have cancelled our flight to Yola for today and many other airlines have also cancelled many flights too.
“This has greatly affected our operations nationwide and we don’t even know if the solution is underway,” he added.
The station manager said that the situation had affected the cost of tickets, as domestic airlines had been forced to hike the price of their tickets to stay afloat during the period of scarcity.
“The least amount you can pay for ticket to board Azman flight is N29, 000 for economy class; other airlines charge between N24,000 to N33,000 on busy days like Thursdays and Fridays.
An air traveler, Mr Joshua idika, said that the scarcity was uncalled for considering the fact that the Federal Government had allowed importers to sell their products at deregulated price.
Idika said that his flight to Port Harcourt was cancelled on Tuesday, adding that he had been waiting for some hours to see if it would be possible for him to travel later in the day.
He called on the government and the aviation authorities to liaise with the marketers to find lasting solution to the crisis. “This problem is really affecting many things especially businesses because, there is hike in air fare and we are also suffering from delays and cancellations,“ Idiaka said.