There is no end in sight to the precarious situation airlines are facing over aviation fuel, known as Jet A1, as the price skyrocketed to an all-time high of N607 per litre yesterday – an increase of over N100 in less than 24 hours.
Many airlines were in a quandary yesterday when they got a notification indicating a new price regime of aviation fuel with the product being sold for N607 in Kano.
An operator confirmed to our correspondent that many airlines got a notification from marketers yesterday showing that Jet A1 has increased to N579 in Lagos; N599 in Abuja and Port Harcourt and N607 in Kano.
It was learnt that the same product was sold for N470 in Lagos on Monday and N495 in Kano.
The development has triggered massive flight delays with many flights reportedly grounded in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country.
One of the airlines hit by the situation, Ibom Air, has issued a statement, explaining the development and offering an apology to its passengers over the situation.
The airline said, “We have encountered a situation today where aviation fuel is scarce and therefore unavailable at almost all our flight destinations. This has significantly impacted our flight schedule today and may do the same tomorrow.
“We sincerely apologize to all our passengers affected by the current situation. At this time, we have no indication when the issue will be resolved, however, we are working with our fellow airlines and fuel suppliers to find a solution.
“Our passengers and the public should please be informed. We will give an update once we have further information.”
A spokesman with Azman Airline, Mr. Nura Aliyu, in a chat with our correspondent lamented the situation, saying the development is raising the operational cost of all airlines and no operator can break even under the current circumstances.
He said, “We had an increase of over N100 in the space of a day. Yesterday (Monday), it was less than N500 in Kano, precisely N495 and today, it is N607. In Lagos, it was N470 yesterday and today it is N577 to N579.”
Another operator said, “This is one of the reasons airlines hiked their fares because you can never break even. Aviation fuel has increased by over 200 per cent.
“Last year, it was sold at N190. The dollar was N360 last year, it is now N585. Also, there has been an increase in handling charges by over 300 per cent now. How do you expect the airlines to survive?”
Speaking on the situation, aviation consultant, Babatunde Adeniji, said it is high time airline operators ventured into Jet A1 business, noting that it can be done by going into the operation as a consortium or by partnering with a major marketer to end the perennial complaint of scarcity.