26 April 2016
It can be observed that the lingering fuel crisis has not only started a rouse with road transportation alone, but also stretched on to the aviation industry.
As a result of the fuel crisis, many flights have been delayed and a few others cancelled. This was caused as a result of the inability of airlines to access the volume of aviation fuel – known as Jet A1, required for flight.
Due to the insufficiency of the commodity, oil marketers have resorted to rationing the product to airlines, sharing the product at ramp – from one aircraft to another. An Official of one of the major domestic carriers said that the fuel scarcity was not only affecting airline operations but was also a situation beyond the control of the airline management.
“So we just ensure that we carry out the important flights to different destinations as we get fuel,” he said.
A major domestic carrier, Dana Air delayed flights on Friday because of inadequate supply of aviation fuel, though it did not cancel any of its flights, according to a source from the airline.
There are speculations, however, that airlines may cut back the amount of fuel needed for each aircraft to run fully, which includes fueling to a destination and then returning the extra fuel. This is referred to as endurance fuel, which is needed in case of emergency or delays due to weather, VIP movement and others.
The same thing was said to have occurred at the international wing of the airport. While most foreign airlines are on contract with oil marketers, for longer than two weeks, the international airlines adopted the strategy to fuel outside Nigeria and top up when they arrive in the country.
It was revealed on Friday that Arik, which at the height of operation required about 1.2 million litres of fuel for its flights could only source about 700, 000 litres.
But spokesman of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Sam Adurogboye said that attempt to cut back on the volume of fuel would be almost to committing suicide.
“Let me tell you categorically that the issue of fuel is a no go area because that will be akin to committing suicide. No airline or pilot will allow it to happen; rather, what airlines do when there is no enough fuel is to cut down operations; they reduce their schedule.
“This cannot happen because the aircraft will come down, so unless the pilots agree to commit suicide; that is when they will allow such to happen. The present fuel scarcity is not peculiar to aviation; it is a general problem,” Adurogboye said.