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Flight Delays Persist, Marketers Say Aviation Fuel Now Available

The hardship being experienced by air travellers as a result of flight cancellations and delays at airports across the country continued on Tuesday, as airlines grappled with the lingering shortage of aviation fuel.

Checks by our correspondent at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 and the General Aviation Terminal at the local wing of the Lagos airport showed that passengers were still having difficulties flying to various destinations within the country as scheduled.

However, indications have emerged of an end to the scarcity of Jet-A1 as our correspondent gathered that the fuel was now available in the country.

It was gathered that aviation fuel had been transferred to the Joint Users Hydrant Installation around the Lagos airport, ready for supply to the various airlines.

Speaking on the current situation, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, told The PUNCH that the scarcity was made severe because three vessels carrying Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, were given priority and allowed to berth at the ports ahead of that which carried aviation fuel.

He, however, stated that the vessel carrying aviation fuel berthed on Sunday and had discharged to all the major marketers.

Olawore added, “As we speak now, there is enough product in Lagos. We have transferred from our tanks in Apapa to the JUHI in Ikeja. Some trucks have even left Lagos for Abuja.

“In the same vein, a second vessel bearing Jet-A1 has also arrived. And we intend to commence discharge on Thursday.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has expressed concern over the increasing spate of flight cancellation by the airlines.

In a statement by its General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, the agency said several reports from its consumer protection officers and aggrieved passengers had inundated its offices across the nation’s airports.

It noted that though it was aware of the prevailing challenges regarding aviation fuel supply, it was expected that the airlines would follow strictly the requirements of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations in carrying out their operations.

The statement read in part, “The circumstances should not open a window for outright impunity and a flurry of cancellations, which has consequently rendered air travel in the country a nightmarish experience.

“All airline operators are, therefore, warned to adhere to the standard and recommended practices while dealing with passengers, many of whom have parted with their hard-earned cash in return for comfort and value, while commuting to their destinations.”

The NCAA warned that sufficient notice must be given to all intending passengers prior to any operational cancellation, adding that where there was a delay in service, passengers must be duly informed and light refreshment provided for them.

The agency also advised the operators to ensure that tickets were not sold to air travellers whenever there were perceived or real hitches, including sourcing of aviation fuel.

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