Danger hovering in the air as only 15,000mt JET A1 ordered by importers
The persistent scarcity of aviation fuel seems deepening as checks by Business Hilights at the Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) shipping position show that only 15,000 metric tonnes of the product were listed for importation in the coming weeks.
An aviation expert who pleaded anonymity said “The quantity is a far cry from what is needed to bridge the supply gap and cushion the suffering of local carriers who have been forced to scale down their operations in recent times”.
The source further revealed that Nigeria needs about 45,000mt to run the sub sector within a festive season like end of the year when air travel is always at the peak.
It would be recalled that some local carriers including Arik Air last week announced plans to scale down the number flights due to scarcity of the aviation fuel.
Details from the NPA’s website showed of the 30 vessels expected at the Lagos Pilotage District for November 2016, nine are laden with a combined tonnage of 259,609.620 metric tonnes of petrol (Premium Motor Spirit) and out of four motor vessels awaiting berth at anchorage, two are carrying PMS of a combined tonnage of 22,500, while one is laden with 15,000 MT of Jet A1.
The development paints a gloomy picture for domestic operators ahead of the Yuletide when passenger volume is expected to swell by up to 40 per cent.
It was learnt that the product has been arriving in ‘trickles’ in the last few months, a situation that underscores the severity of the current scarcity.
The scarcity has also disorganised the schedules of the local carriers that cancel flights repeatedly. Some vital routes like Lagos-Abuja run on an unreliable schedule as a 10am flight may not depart until 3pm because the airlines wasted vital time searching for fuel.
Investigation also revealed that whereas local airlines groan over the scarcity, foreign airlines have taken solace in refuelling in neighbouring Ghana or Cote d’Ivoire, even as the crippling scarcity has triggered concerns of the likelihood of the demise of more local airlines after Aero.