Hundreds of airline passengers were stranded across the country over the weekend following scarcity of Aviation fuel known as Jet A1 which is affecting all airline operators, findings by Daily Trust have shown.
The development, it was learnt, started from last week after airline operators suspended their plan to shut down.
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Dana Air was the first to cry out over the scarcity of Jet A1 which it said is affecting its operations.
“Unfortunately, we are again witnessing the scarcity of Jet A1 fuel across the airports in Nigeria, which has in some cases, caused recent flight delays,” said Sukh Mann, Dana Air Deputy CEO.
Daily Trust learnt that all airlines including Air Peace, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air, among others are being affected by the aviation fuel scarcity.
In addition, it was learnt that the product is being sold at N695 in airports like Yola, Adamawa; Maiduguri in Borno.
While it was sold at N598 per litre in Lagos, it was N642 in Kano; N640 in Kaduna; 627 in Abuja; N626 in Port Harcourt; N635 in Enugu; N630 in Anambra, among others.
In Kano, passengers of Azman Airlines were between Saturday and Sunday stranded at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) for over 24 hours.
The incident led to some of the passengers spending the night at the departure area of the airport as they did not learn about the rescheduled flight until late in the evening.
Many of the passengers, travelling to Abuja and Lagos, lamented that they were supposed to fly at 4:00pm on Saturday but could not see even staff of the airline and that they got the rescheduled notice around 8:00pm.
“I was here yesterday and expected to fly around 4pm but these people were not even around to tell us anything. I only got a notification around 8pm that the flight has been rescheduled to today (Sunday). Some of us spent the night here. This is totally disappointing,” Jamilu Rabiu, one of the passengers said.
However, one of the company’s staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity admitted that they had technical difficulties with their aeroplane but assured that the passengers will fly around 6:30pm (on Sunday).
“As you can see we are now clearing yesterday’s passengers. We have 4:00pm yesterday and 7:30am and another 4:00pm today. So we are expected to clear them today (Sunday).
“One of our aeroplanes is coming in the next one hour and we will clear yesterday’s passengers and today’s at 7:30pm. They all have collected their boarding passes and now we are waiting for the aeroplane,” he said.
As of the time of filing this report, many passengers were stranded across the country with airlines struggling to get the product.
In Abuja, some Air Peace passengers were also stranded and accommodated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s (FAAN).
It was learnt that trouble began for the passengers who were billed to travel on the Air Peace flight to Owerri on the 8th of May, 2022 when their flight was cancelled at night and they were left to their fate in spite of a customer service charter by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that prescribes that passengers be accommodated in that type of situation.
But the FAAN Airport Manager of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja Mr. Kabir Mohammed having noticed the agitation of the stranded passengers stepped in and provided one-night accommodation and also fed those who were willing to be accommodated.
One of the passengers in a letter to the SERVICOM desk at the airport dated 9th of May 2022, on behalf of the affected passengers thanked FAAN for the gesture even though it was the responsibility of the airline to have accommodated and fed them.
The passenger, Mr. Samuel Eke Onyemauwa wrote: “I write this recommendation about the staff and management of FAAN Abuja over their wonderful and efficient service offered to us when Air Peace Airlines disappointed us. We were billed to fly to Owerri on the evening of 8th May 2022.
“The staff and management of FAAN Abuja intervened over the chaos situation, lodged and fed us till the next day after we were abandoned and left stranded by Air Peace in the dead of the night. The following day, FAAN brought us back to the airport to travel. Indeed, FAAN averted what would have turned into a chaotic situation” he narrated.
Daily Trust at the meeting held last week, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and airline operators agreed to provide six million litres of aviation fuel at N480 a litre for three months.
It was part of the agreements reached at the end of the meeting summoned by the house of representatives to avert airline operators’ planned shutdown.
However, an airline operator, Barr. Shehu Wada blamed the massive flight delays throughout the weekend on the scarcity of Jet fuel, saying no airline is immune from the challenge.