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HomeBusinessAviation fuel scarcity, Airlines to delay, cancel flights during Christmas ~AON

Aviation fuel scarcity, Airlines to delay, cancel flights during Christmas ~AON

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Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has alerted air travelers that perennial aviation fuel scarcity had returned and would most likely disrupt operations as Christmas approached.

Aside from the harmattan haze, which is expected to disrupt operations, the high cost of operations, particularly aviation fuel exceeding N800/litre, has raised one-way fares to N150,000 (economy class) – subject to seat availability.

A litre of Jet A1 was sold in Lagos for N810, Abuja for N825, Port Harcourt for N828, and Kano for N829 (N840).

The Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines (UNA), Obiora Okonkwo stated that, in addition to exorbitant rates, Jet-A1 has been in short supply in recent days.

Okonkwo said the scarcity would certainly force airlines to reschedule flights leading to late operations and, or, cancellations.

“This unintended development is a pain for airline operators and a stain on the industry, especially at this time of mass movement of people for the Christmas and New Year festivities.

“While we do our utmost best to manage the situation and ensure safe flight operations, we plead for the understanding of the traveling public in the circumstance,” he said.

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He also urged the relevant authorities, including product importers and marketers, to do everything possible to resolve the situation and alleviate the stress on the traveling public.

Despite operator silence, the Chief Operations Officer of one of the airlines confirmed that the perennial problem of cost increases and fuel scarcity continues to afflict the industry.

“Nothing has been resolved, but we are learning to cut our coats according to our clothes. That explains why tickets are above N70,000 and N80,000.

“At that, we are still heavily subsidising the rates not to pass the entire burden to the travelling public that is also struggling. We all are feeling the pinch but we expect the best during the festive season,” he said.

A fuel marketer, however, denied the scarcity of the product at major airports, especially Lagos.

“I can assure you that there is fuel for airlines that are ready to pay for it. The old practice that the airlines have been used to is to rack up credit bills on fuel and pay when it is convenient for them.

“But that is changing. Marketers are supplying to only airlines that are willing to pay immediately. Let the airlines leverage more on their relationships with their marketers and everyone will be fine,” he said.

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