The ongoing transportation of Nigerian pilgrims from Saudi Arabia has been disrupted due to the scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1) in the domestic market.

Muslim hajj, Saudi
Muslim pilgrims perform the “Tawaf al-Ifada”, a mandatory circumambulation around the Kaaba (the Cube), Islam’s holiest shrine, at the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on August 11, 2019, following their descent from Mount Arafat. (Photo / AFP)

Newsmen gathered that the scarcity of aviation fuel, which began a few days ago, affected some Nigerian carriers involved in the Hajj operations.

Capt. Muhammed Joji, the Chief Executive Officer of Skypower Express Airlines, one of the airlines affected by the situation, confirmed the development to newsmen on Friday in Lagos.

Joji said no fewer than 265 pilgrims of the carrier were delayed at the
King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as the airline could not purchase fuel in Nigeria on time.

He said the airline had to purchase Jet A1 at an exorbitant price in order to convey the pilgrims back home.

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Joji said: “It is unfortunate that we don’t have fuel anywhere in Nigeria.

“We tried to get in Lagos, Kano and other airports, but we couldn’t get any. This, unfortunately, affected the transportation of our pilgrims back to Nigeria from Saudi Arabia.

“But, the issue has been resolved as we were able to bring in 265 pilgrims on Friday morning with a B777 aircraft.
The aircraft has since returned to bring back the same number of  pilgrims.”

According to him, there is an urgent need for the Federal Government and aviation authorities to find a lasting solution to the scarcity of aviation fuel in the country.

He said the scarcity of the product was affecting flight operations in the industry and called on the government to make the product available to airlines.

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