16th May, 2016
The lingering scarcity of Jet A1, popularly called aviation fuel, on Monday disrupted flight operations at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) and the General Aviation Terminal of the airport in Lagos.
Following the scarcity of the product some domestic airlines had to re-schedule or cancel most of their flights as a result of their inability to procure aviation fuel for their aircraft.
Among the airlines affected were Aero Contractors, Dana, Azman, First Nation and Peace Airline.
Some passengers travelling to Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Owerri and Enugu were left stranded and frustrated when the cancellation of their flights were announced through the airport’s public address system.
The situation prompted some of them to rush to the counter of Arik Air to purchase tickets as the airline was among the few which were having hitch-free operations.
A passenger, Mrs Chioma Akabueze, said that she was booked on a 10 a.m. flight in one of the affected airlines, but was later informed that all the airline’s flights for the day had been cancelled.
“The announcement was made around 4.30 p.m. and it is very disappointing. I was supposed to hold a meeting with a client in Owerri by 2 p.m. and now, I have to reschedule it,’’ she said.
Another traveller, Mr Emma Akanni, said he had to pay a tout N40,000 to get him an Arik Air one-way ticket to Abuja, though the airline usually charges N51,600 for a to and fro ticket for the same destination.
The Consumer Protection Department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had revealed in its 2016 First Quarter Report that domestic airlines recorded 8,478 cases of delayed flights.
The report said a total number of 15,434 flights were operated by eight domestic airlines during the period under review, while 281 flights were cancelled.
However, the airlines had attributed the situation, which led to over 50 percent of their flights being delayed or cancelled, to the scarcity of aviation fuel and had appealed to the government to intervene in making the product available.