Airlines’ inability to pay for aviation fuel hinders supply of 45mn litres – Businessday

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) promise to supply 45 million litres of aviation fuel to forestall scarcity is currently being hindered as a result of the airlines’ inability to pay for the product.

Beyond just the hazy weather, the scarcity is also contributing to the incessant flight delays and cancellations across airports in the country, BusinessDay’s findings show.

On the alleged scarcity of Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK), which is purportedly responsible for the hardship being experienced in the aviation sector, Maikanti Baru, group managing director, clarified that NNPC had taken steps to ensure adequate supply of the product with the importation of over 45 million litres.

Baru however said that the challenge had more to do with the inability of airlines to pay for the product upon the introduction of a cash-and-carry policy by marketers on account of the huge amount they were being owed by the airlines.

The inability of airlines to buy aviation fuel has continued to result in incessant flight delays and cancellations, especially during the yuletide, disrupting activities of passengers and leaving many stranded.

Obuke Oyibotha, media consultant to Med-View Airline, told BusinessDay that ever since the NNPC promised to supply the product, up till now, the airlines had not been able to access the product.

“There is no improvement on the supply of aviation fuel, even during this yuletide season and this has continued to affect the airline’s operations,” Oyibotha said.

Findings show that all domestic airlines consume one million litres of aviation fuel daily.

John Ojikutu, secretary general, Aviation Round Table, told BusinessDay that the problem with availability of aviation fuel was as a result of the indebtedness of the airlines to the various service providers, including the fuel marketers.

“I said there is no truth in telling the public that foreign airlines go to neighbouring countries to lift fuel; it does not make economic sense for EU and Middle East airlines that are not going there to pick passengers.

“The high cost of fuel is only applicable to the airlines that are owing; it is a clever way for the marketers to recoup their earnings from the airlines,” Ojikutu said.