Stakeholder Blames Jet A1 Crisis On Malfunctioning Refineries
The current scarcity of Jet A1 popularity known as aviation fuel has been blamed on the inability of the government to put the country’s refineries in order.
An aviation expert and former Director of Operations, Nigerian Aviation Handing Company NAHCO, Mr. Hurbert Odika who disclosed this in an interview in Lagos state, also traced the hike in air fares to the airlines’ running cost.
Odika explained that the industry would never had witnessed the current economic predicament caused by shortage of aviation fuel in the industry assuming the refineries were working.
“We will refine here at chapter labour cost, no ocean freight to bring back the finished product, no charges in foreign currency for refining the PMS or AGO to return them back to the country. Nigeria at the moment is cheating itself,” he said.
He remarked that he was very optimistic that President Buhari haven worked as a Minister of Petroleum in 1979 and Chairman of PTF, would have taken it as top priority that refineries would be up and running. Odika expressed displeasure that till today, no one had explained why the refineries were not up and running.
He noted that marketers of diesel workers were having a swell time and called on the government to make refineries work .
According to him the oil boom was time bound as renewable energy has come to stay. The west is working seriously to ensure that by 2040, renewable energy in Europe will form 80 – 90% of their consumption.
He called on the government to utilize the time left for the oil boom, to allow all the refineries to be made to work and search for alternative areas of revenue generation.
“Over-dependant on oil is time bound- 20 years maximum for major export that we can boast of now. It doesn’t mean that we will not sell any more but a limited amount for Nigeria”
Odika congratulated the airlines in the country for forming alliance as it has the capacity to keep domestic airlines alive and provide consumer satisfaction.
He said airlines could now transfer passengers to other airlines and it would help to improve on standards, timing apart from weather; adding that days of sitting endlessly at the airport waiting for flights to come were over with the alliance.
On the fare hike, Odika said it was expected like every other business but remarked that the hike in Jet A1 sounded unrealistic to him from N200 to N625 per litre.
He stated that if there was justification to that, the airlines were at will to do the increase in fare but not to make it a blanket increase across the nation.
“You don’t charge the same fare for a flight to Benin that is 35 minutes as somebody going to Yola or Kano that is over one hour. That is not realistic”
Odika called on the operators to sit down and look at each route with the alliance formed to adjust their fares accordingly, adding that some people would be happier like those on the long haul – Yola, Kano; but not on the short flight.
He praised the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria for being able to reduce the presence of touts at the nation’s airport terminals. ” The touts were constituting nuisance at the airport. They were embarrassment to the country’s aviation industry. I commend FAAN for eliminating touting at the airports,” Odika said.
He however berated FAAN for constructing the new Chinese financed international terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport without considering space for apron and wings span of wide- bodied aircraft.
”The new terminal cannot take more than two wide- bodied aircraft at a time at the apron. That will make it less attractive to foreign airlines. It will consequently reduce the commercial value of the terminal, especially at peak periods of airline operations”.
”To remedy this, the federal government has to demolish existing structures around the terminal to increase apron space.”
He also advised that the present hangars around the new terminal could be moved “to Gate 5 which also has easy access”.