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Aviation fuel shortage disrupts flights in Nigeria

Lagos / AFP

A lack of jet fuel has led to the disruption of local and international flights in Nigeria, airlines said on Wednesday, warning travellers of cancellations.
Arik, the country’s largest airline, said in a statement that scarcity of aviation fuel in the last few weeks had reached “alarming” levels due to an
ongoing shortfall in imports.
“Due to the inability of oil marketers to meet our daily fuel requirements… our operations have been the most impacted, which consequently inconvenienced a larger volume of passengers,” it added.
Dana Air, which operates domestic routes, also said it was affected. OPEC-member Nigeria is forced to export crude oil and import refined petroleum products because of a lack of domestic refining capacity.
But fuel importers have been unable to source foreign exchange to pay for supplies because of the global slump in oil prices, which has weakened the naira and led to a shortage of foreign currency.
Motorists have faced long queues at filling stations for weeks as pumps run dry.
That has forced the government to put up the price of petrol by 67% and deregulate the import market to improve supplies. But a labour union faction has opposed the move and called a national strike.
Airport workers said operations improved slightly on Wednesday but the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority warned airlines about further cancellations.
The NCAA threatened to sanction any airline that engages in “unjustifiable or avoidable flight cancellations”.



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