The scarcity of aviation fuel is taking a huge toll on airline operations with Arik Air declaring that it has lost an estimated $9 million since last week to disruptions of its operations.
The airline said the scarcity of aviation fuel has adversely hit its operations, that it is forced to scale down its flights to twenty per cent capacity out of over 100 flights daily.
Addressing reporters at the Arik Air headquarters, its managing director, Mr Chris Ndulue said it has put series of contingency plans in place to ensure it does not shut down its operations because of the scarcity of aviation fuel.
He said the airline now flies to neighbouring countries in West and Central Africa to source for aviation fuel at ridiculously high rates to sustain its operations.
He said Arik Air now flies to Ghana, Cameroon and Benin Republic to source for aviation fuel.
He said if the fuel situation does not improve the airline may not operate flights, as the alternate arrangement is costing the airline much money with the attendant inconveniences to passengers.
Ndulue said since last Thursday when the scarcity of aviation fuel intensified, Arik Air has over stretched its bounds to secure the over 800,000 litres needed for its daily operations.
He said:” For over one week now, aviation fuel scarcity has impacted negatively on our flight operations. It has become very bad that we have to scale down our flights gradually. In the last one week it has become increasingly difficult to sustain our operations owing largely to scarcity of aviation fuel.
Getting fuel to fly to our international destinations has become extremely expensive, because we have to source fuel from Cotonou, Cameroon and Accra to sustain our operations.
Because if the huge quantity of fuel averaging about 800,000 litres needed daily for our wide body aircraft it becoming very difficult.
If the situation does not improve in the coming days, we may not return to normal flight operations.
We appeal to passengers for their understanding on account of the inconveniences they are going through arising from the flight disruptions.
He clarified that the short supply of aviation fuel to Arik Air was not borne out of indebtedness to fuel marketers, saying that airlines make credit arrangement with their suppliers.
He said:” Since last Thursday only one fuel marketer has been consistent with supply of the product. As an airline we have thrown contingency plans around and the marketers are cooperating because of the good relationship.”