Flight delays and cancellations among domestic airlines have continued unabated as scarcity of aviation fuel bites harder and cost of purchase increases to N570 per litre.
It was gathered that the situation with airlines like Ibom Air was very dire on Tuesday, March 8, as many of their aircraft couldn’t fly to most of their destinations due to fuel scarcity.
The airline admitted that the situation was bad and impacted its flight schedule on Tuesday and may do the same on Wednesday.
“We have encountered a situation today where aviation fuel is scarce and therefore unavailable at almost all our flight destinations. This has significantly impacted our flight schedule today (Tuesday) and may do the same tomorrow (Wednesday). We sincerely apologize to all our passengers affected by the current situation.
“At this time, we have no indication when the issue will be resolved; however, we are working with our fellow airlines and fuel suppliers to find a solution. Our passengers and the public should please be informed. We will give an update once we have further information,” the airline said.
Last week, Dana Air apologised to its passengers for the flight disruptions that happened on March 1, where most of their flights were cancelled due to scarcity of fuel.
The deputy Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Sukhjinder Mann, said the disruptions were due to fuel scarcity, ramp congestion and bad weather and promised to give complimentary tickets to passengers that were affected.
In a letter to passengers, he said: “I accept that our recent disruptions scarcity of fuel, ramp congestion and bad weather would have affected your plans and I understand how frustrating it would have been for you to contact our customer service representative to reschedule your flight or having to wait in some instances, but I would like to reassure you that all your feedback has not gone unnoticed regardless of how your sent them.
“On fuel scarcity, we are working with our partners to significantly mitigate the challenge and I am pleased to advise that we have made major inroads in this area with our key suppliers. We will continue to do our best to minimize any foreseeable challenges while hoping that the situation improves generally for all carriers as soon as possible,” he added.
Late last month, Air Peace had through one their circulars informed passengers that some of their flights were delayed due to scarcity. The airline said their Lagos to Port Harcourt flight for 14:30 on February 15 was delayed due to lack of fuel and the Port Harcourt to Abuja flight for 16:25 and Abuja to Lagos for 16:25 were also affected.
The airline also revealed that the Lagos to Asaba flight of 14:25 of the same day was delayed because of aviation fuel and it affected the Abuja to Lagos flight of 16:25. Also, the Lagos to Douala flight for 15:00 was also delayed due to scarcity and it affected their return leg of Doula to Lagos for 17:15.
An insider in one of the airlines said that there is suspicion in the industry that marketers were taking advantage of the fuel crisis in the country to hoard the product and increase the price.
“We are suspecting that many of the marketers are deliberately creating false scarcity in order to increase the price of aviation fuel to N570 and this has caused so much problems for airlines. It is unfortunate and the government doesn’t seem to know how to handle the situation.
“A lot of passengers won’t understand our predicament, they always like to blame the airlines but in this situation, tell me what the airlines can do? They are helpless. We are still battling with scarcity of forex, on top of that, we are now being faced with scarcity of fuel,” the insider said.