After nearly two weeks of airliners scraping for Jet A1, the fuel used by airplanes, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said there was no cause for alarm. The NNPC advised airline operators and other consumers to disregard reports about aviation fuel scarcity, as it has over 80 million litres in stock, a volume that can last airlines in Nigeria for 37 days.
Airlines, since August 21 have been working through the odds to get aviation fuel. This led to delayed flights and inability of some pilgrims to return to the country as scheduled.
Indications crept in mid last week that the product was experiencing a shortage in supply as multiple lights were delayed by various airlines by between 30 minutes and one hour, with affected airlines citing no reasons for the delay.
However, the situation became glaring, as more flights failed to meet scheduled timeline, while over 200 pilgrims were stranded in Saudi Arabia as airlines failed to get fuel.
Two hundred and sixty-five passengers of Skypower Express Airlines, one of the carriers approved for the 2019 hajj exercise were stranded in Saudi Arabia, as the airline failed to get Jet A1 in Nigeria.
Muhammed Joji, a flight captain and CEO of Skypower Express Airlines confirmed the development.
He said the airline could not lift its 265 passengers from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as attempts to purchase fuel in Lagos and Kano did not yield fruitful results.
However, the NNPC said in a statement that the current nationwide aviation fuel stock holding is robust enough at over 80 million litres, translating to more than 37 days sufficiency.
The state oil corporation assured airline operators and other consumers of aviation fuel of adequate stock to meet their energy needs.
The corporation further advised Nigerians to remain vigilant and volunteer information to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry regulator, or any law enforcement agency around them, on anyone that attempts to take expense of the consumers or hoard the product.
An airline told business a.m. Thursday that supply of Jet A1 had improved “lightly.”
The Dana Air spokesman, Kingsley Ezenwa, in a brief response to an inquiry by our correspondent on the development said “the situation has improved lightly.”
The NNPC in its Thursday statement indicated the situation may have been a sign of artificial scarcity induced by some marketers as it advised “marketers to refrain from any act that could impede the supply and distribution of this product,” adding that the corporation would do all it could to sustain the seamless supply of the product nationwide.