February 7, 2023

Aviation fuel: Airfares surge 95%, as jet A1 scarcity bites harder 

The Federal Government on Thursday announced Sept. 5 as the date for the full resumption of international flights into the country.

•South-East travellers paid highest

ICSAN make case for permanent solution 

By Prince Okafor 

As the scarcity of aviation kerosene, Jet A1 fuel continues to linger, it apears air travellers across the country will continue to paymore for airfares in the coming days.  

This is coming against the backdrop of the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, report on transport fare watch which indicated a 95 percent increase on the average fare paid by air passengers.

The statistic focused on specified routes for a single journey in one year. 

The report also stated that the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey, increased by 1.81per cent on a month-on-month from N73,267.57 in November 2022 to N74,597.30 in December 2022. On a year-on-year, the fare rose by 95.01 per cent from N38,253.36 inDecember 2021. 

A breakdown of the report showed that, Enugu and Kebbi state recorded the highest air transport charges (for specifiedroutes single journeys) with N80, 500.00 in December 2022, followed by Anambrawith N80,000.00. Conversely, Abia recorded the least fare with N69,000. 

On the regional base, the South-East recorded the highest fare of air transportin December 2022 with N76,260.00, followed by North-East with N75,850.00. While North-Central had the least with N71,942.86. 

However, Vanguard Aviation World gathered that the scarcity of the JetA1, foreign exchange amongst others were responsible for the rise in the cost of airfares. 

For instance, in February 2022, the cost of Jet A1 was around N250 per litre, but currently, the product cost hovers around N900 per litre.  Following the development, the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, told travellers to brace up for more flight delays and cancellations.

They also called on product importers and other marketers to as a matterof urgency the situation so as to ease the stress it brings on the travelling public.

According to the spokesman, Mr. Obiora Okonkwo, airlines are currently facing a hard time getting the commodity from suppliers which may furtherincrease the cost of air tickets.

“There are impending disruptions in scheduled flight operations due tothe scarcity of Jet-A1, which reared its ugly head again in the past few days.The scarcity will no doubt force airlines to reschedule flights leading to late operations and, or, cancellations.”

ICSAN make case for permanent solution 

Meanwhile, the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators ofNigeria (ICSAN) has tasked the federal government and other stakeholders in theeconomy to among other things find a permanent solution to scarcity of JetA1 aviation fuel and other fuels that facilitates transportation in the country.

ICSAN gave these recommendations at its maiden Aviation Webinar organised by the institute’s Aviation Sectoral Group.

The institute said: “Government and other stakeholders should urgentlyfind a permanent solution to end the scarcity of not only Jet A1 aviation fuel,but also other types of fuel that facilitate transportation

in Nigeria.“The Nigerian Government should partner with private investors toestablish and maintain more functional and efficient refineries to fullyexploit the potential of our economy as a top oil-producing nation.“ 

As a corollary to the above, Nigeria should plan to end her reliance on fuel importation to service the economy as this is just a temporary palliative measure that is not only detrimental to the economy but is also nota sustainable practice.

“The Federal Government should charge the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), (in the meantime before the nation becomes self-sufficient in fuel production) with sourcing for Jet A1 in addition to its other responsibilities as it has both the structure and experience in this area. This will make the situation less volatile than the present where individual vested interest has to import aviation fuel. 

“There will also begreater adherence to quality and standards if the importation is solely handled by the NNPCL.”

According to ICSAN, the aviation sector of nations must thrive and be fully exploited for economies in the world to interconnect and function optimally in these modern times. It said that nations with problematic aviation sectors will be leftbehind in the scheme of things, noting that the availability of Jet A1 productsis key to the operations of airlines. 

ICSAN said: “The present unavailability of locally refined Jet A1 inNigeria is attributable to a number of reasons including lack of functional refinery, the shortfall in foreign supply due to Ukraine-Russian war and the weakening value of the national currency, Nairaagainst the global trading currency, the US Dollar.

“The scarcity of Jet A1 has brought the following crisis to the AviationIndustry in particular and the entire economy in general: a rapidly rising oflanding costs and selling prices to airline operators in recent months; hike in air-fare by the airline operators as well as an increase in their charges forcargo and courier services; delay in flight take-offs and sometimes totalflight cancellation and reduction in airline operators’ profit, which mightaffect their operational efficiency.”