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Flight disruption looms as fuel scarcity worsens

Barely a week after the intervention that fixed aviation fuel at N480/litre, Jet-A1 scarcity has hit local airlines causing multiple flights delay.

More than half of scheduled flights were delayed for hours yesterday. The operating carriers have also warned the travelling public to brace up for massive disruptions in the days ahead.

The National Assembly, last week, summoned airline operators, oil marketers, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to a roundtable over soaring cost of jet fuel for which the operators threatened to shut down local air transport services.

At the end of the meeting, an agreement was reached to reduce jet fuel from N700 to N480/litre, with fuel marketers demonised as the cause of surging cost.

But since the intervention, marketers have allegedly started rationing supplies and cutting off sale on credit to local carriers, causing an average of two hours delay on most flights.

Spokesperson of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, said the delays would worsen due to growing scarcity of aviation fuel.

He said: “The scarcity is impacting negatively on seamless conduct of air transport operations and would lead to flight rescheduling and or cancellations.”

He, however, assured that the association and its members were working hard and in alliance with product marketers, government and relevant stakeholders to ensure availability and proper pricing of aviation fuel in the country.

He added: “While pleading for understanding of the flying public in the face of this reality, we also promise to do all that is necessary, and within our powers, to restore normal flight schedules as soon as possible.”

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