As airlines continue to experience delays over the scarcity of aviation fuel called Jet A1, petroleum marketers, The PUNCH has gathered, are being denied access to fuel aeroplanes at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
According to the Chief Commercial Officer, Green Africa, Obi Mbanuzuo, FAAN is restricting the marketers’ access because they failed to comply with its ‘impromptu’ 100% increment in Apron pass charges.
He said, “FAAN is currently restricting access to all fuel marketers in Abuja. The reason is that they instituted a 100% increment in Apron pass charges and require them to pay ASAP. No fuel marketers are currently being allowed onto the apron so no fuel vendors.
“We now have two aircraft on the ground in Abuja stuck waiting for fuel.
“We could have tankered into Abuja but we were full so couldn’t.
“Ramp in Abuja is now congested with most airlines having at least two aircraft now on the ground. Lagos to Akure with a 100% load factor of 4 pm is now cancelled as we cannot meet up with sunset even if we depart with our normal schedule now.
“Akure to Lagos was 70% full. Passengers’ Easter plans were destroyed because of FAAN and fuel marketers’ disagreement.
Many airline operators, like Ibom Air, Green Africa and others have stated that flights are landing and have no fuel.
The assistant general secretary, Aviation Round Table, Olumide Ohunayo in his reaction to this latest development said, “I think they are using the fuel marketers as an example but the charges affect everyone including ground handlers etc. This increase is actually across the board but Abuja is taking action today.”
However, many stakeholders have asked the question of whether or not the marketers were carried along.
All efforts to reach FAAN for a comment on the issue proved abortive as of the time of filing this report.