Arik Air announced on Wednesday that they would be reducing their amount of flights due to the lingering scarcity of aviation fuel, JET A1.
The announcement was made through a statement by the airline’s Communications Manager, Mr. Ola Adebanji, in Lagos. According to the airline, the scarcity of aviation fuel started manifesting last week when major oil marketers began to ration supply of the product to airlines.
It said, “With a daily fuel need of about 500,000 litres and an average of over 100 daily flights, Arik Air is mostly affected by this scarcity which is the fourth this year alone.”
“One of the airline’s flights to Johannesburg on Tuesday had to be routed via Port Harcourt to pick up fuel. As a result of the worsening supply situation of aviation fuel, Arik Air has announced further reduction in flights from Nov. 16 to cope with the fresh scarcity.’’
The airline said that this reduction will reduce unpleasant flight delays and cancellations which passengers have experienced in recent times. It said that an oil marketer issued a notice to Airmen on Saturday, alerting of non-availability of the product in Lagos. They added that another marketer also said it was running out of the product in Lagos with limited supplies in Port Harcourt and Abuja.
“This development has started taking its toll on Arik Air due to the airline’s large scale operations, with flights being delayed across the country and, in some cases, cancelled especially for airports without airfield lighting.” Mr Oyebanji said.
He appealed on behalf of the airline for the understanding of its customers whose flights were likely to be affected by the scarcity and scaling down of operations saying that Arik would notify passengers through SMS or email messages in situation where flights would be delayed or cancelled due to the scarcity.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, had at the weekend, assured stakeholders in the sector that the government was making efforts to address the scarcity. Capt. Sirika said that the long-term target of the government was to ensure local production of aviation fuel to make the product easily available for airline operators.