Nigerian airlines lose $48 million to aviation fuel scarcity

Nigerian airlines have lost $48 million($1=150 naira) to the scarcity of aviation fuel, known as Jet-A1, in the past two weeks, the local Business day newspaper reported Monday .

It said the scarcity, which has pushed up the price of the fuel from 98 naira to 160 naira per litre, has forced many domestic airlines to cut scheduled flights or cancelled them altogether.


Worst hit by the scarcity is Arik Air, the country's largest airline which has reduced its daily flights from 120 to 80, as well as the second largest, Aero, which has cut flights from 80 daily to between 40 and 45.

The third largest, Air Nigeria, as well as IRS Airlines have also scaled down their operations.

Because of the high cost of Jet-A1 in Nigeria, both local and international airlines now prefer to refuel their aircraft in neighbouring countries like Ghana, Togo and elsewhere.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren, said while marketers had raised the price of their product over time, the carriers had only marginally increased air fares.

“The price of aviation fuel in Nigeria is ridiculously too high. We need to knock this down. We are working on it and I believe we will be able to do this. We can’t continue this way,'' the paper quoted him as saying.

The marketers have attributed the cost of the product to high cost of import.

Nigeria, which is Africa's top oil producer, imports most of the refined petroleum needed for domestic consumption as local refineries operate far below installed capacity.
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