Why Aviation Fuel Crisis May Persist



Posted by Sade Williams


Until the poor conditions of Nigeria’s refineries are turned around and the country begins full crude oil refining, the current scarcity of aviation fuel would persist, an aviation expert and a former director of operations Nigerian Aviation Handing Company (NAHCO), Mr. Hurbert Odika, has said.

While disclosing in an interview in Lagos, that the hike in air fares was due to airlines’ running cost. Odika explained, that the industry would never have witnessed the current economic predicament caused by shortage of aviation fuel in the industry if 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 having worked as a minister of petroleum in 1979 and chairman of PTF, would have taken it as top priority that refineries will be up and running.

Odika expressed displeasure that till today no one had explained why the refineries were not up and running.

According to him the oil boom was time bound as renewable energy has come to stay while the West is working seriously to ensure that by 2040, renewable energy in Europe will form 80 – 90 percent of their consumption.

“Over dependent 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 it’s a limited amount for Nigeria” .

Odika congratulated the airlines in the country for forming alliance as it has the capacity of keeping domestic airlines alive and provide consumer satisfaction.

He said airlines can now transfer passengers to other airlines and it will 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 from N200 to N625 per litre, sounded unrealistic.

While calling on the operators in the alliance to reappraise their routes  and readjust fares accordingly, he stated that if there was justification for the increase in fare, the airlines could do so but should not make it a blanket increase across the nation

“You don’t charge the same fare for a flight to Benin that is 35 mins as some body going to Yola or Kano that is over one hour. That is not realistic”

On touting, Odika praised the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, for being able to reduce the presence of touts at the nation’s airport terminals, but berated the Authority for not considering space for apron before building the new terminal in Lagos.

“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.

” 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 have easy access’.


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