Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Intending passengers on Arik air to various local destinations yesterday groaned at the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammad Airport over delay in flights operations over scarcity of aviation fuel also known as JET A1.
Investigations by Authentic Platform Nigeria revealed that many passengers missed their appointments as flights couldn’t take off as scheduled by the airline.
One of the affected passengers, Yunus Abdul complained how the delayed affected his return to Abuja.
He also accused Arik of operating a ‘Molue’ service where passengers are picked and dropped in across local destinations before being taken to their actual destinations.
Abdul said for instance, “On my way from Abuja, Arik took loaded us with Calabar passengers and took us to Calabar airport then picked other Lagos bound passenegrs before bring us to Lagos making the journey hectic and stressful.”
Meanwhile, Arik Air in a statement by PR & Communications Manager, Adebanji Ola confirmed the situation when it alerted passengers of worsening aviation fuel (JET A1) scarcity across the country.
He said the aviation fuel scarcity started manifesting last week when major oil marketers began to ration supply of the product to airlines. One of the marketers issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) on Saturday alerting of non-availability of the product in Lagos. Another marketer said it was running out of product in Lagos with limited supplies in Port Harcourt and Abuja.
This development has started taking its toll on Arik Air due to the airline’s large scale operations, with flights being delayed across the country and in some cases cancelled especially for airports without airfield lighting.
With a daily fuel need of about 500,000 litres and an average of over 100 daily flights, Arik Air is mostly affected by this scarcity which is the fourth this year alone. One of the airline’s flights to Johannesburg on Tuesday had to be routed via Port Harcourt to pick up fuel.
As a result of the worsening supply situation of the aviation fuel, Arik Air has announced further reduction in flights from Wednesday, November 16 to cope with the fresh scarcity, and reduce the unpleasant delays and cancellations which passengers have experienced in recent times.
It has therefore appealed for the understanding of its valued customers whose flights are likely to be affected by the scarcity and scaling down of operations.
Where flights are to be delayed or cancelled as a result of the scarcity, Arik Air will be sending text or email messages to passengers.
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