Fresh fuel scarcity hits aviation sector
• Air Peace urges quick intervention
Another round of fuel scarcity hit the aviation sector at the weekend, leaving operators struggling to keep scheduled flights running.
The scarcity peaked yesterday in places like Lagos and Abuja where operators cancelled almost all flights.
Meanwhile, oil marketers responsible for the importation and supply of the aviation fuel, also known as Jet-A1, have blamed the high cost of foreign exchange for the current crisis.
Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Obafemi Olawole, told The Guardian that the current rate of N320 plus to one dollar being offered banks discourages importers to bring in the essential commodity.
At the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos for instance, no airline was ready for boarding, leaving passengers stranded as at about 3pm yesterday before the eventual cancellation of flights.
A travel agent, Abiodun, told our reporter that the airlines had continued to ration flight services to some high-traffic destinations all morning, but all came to an abrupt end around 2:00 p.m. yesterday.
The situation was slightly relaxed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2) terminal, where operators like Dana Air and Aero Air continued skeletal services but not without delays “due to operational reasons”.
In a related development, a player, Air Peace, has appealed to government to urgent intervene in the crisis, saying the development has disrupted operations.
In a statement, its Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, regretted that despite the airline’s efforts to source the commodity, some of its flight schedules were still affected by the scarcity.
She, thus, solicited the understanding and patience of passengers, saying the airline was concerned about the situation and has been working round the clock to ensure its flights were not adversely affected by the crisis.
Olajide assured that despite the huge amount the firm currently spends on getting fuel get from alternative sources, it would not relent in giving its passengers “exceptional” services.
“For quite some time now, there has been a general scarcity of JET-A1 fuel in the country. Since the development, we have resorted to different alternative sources to secure the product to ensure that flight delays did not disrupt the programmes of our numerous loyal customers.
“Although this has proved very costly for us to manage, we have spared nothing in our bid to source aviation fuel for our operations. We, however, regret that despite our huge efforts, we have not been able to secure enough fuel to run our operations without some hitches.
“While we appeal to the Federal Government and aviation authorities to urgently intervene in the general scarcity of JET-A1 fuel and solicit the understanding and patience of our numerous loyal customers, we will to continue to do everything within our powers to overcome the challenge,” she added.
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