Aviation security expert, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd) has charged the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to draw up standards for Jet-A1 quality assurance, starting with the transportation vehicles type or profile; supply and trucking systems; storage and dispensing systems.
He stated that at the moment, vehicles supplying aviation fuel, otherwise known as Jet-A1 are not sufficiently distinct from those supplying other petroleum products.
Ojikutu disclosed that the consequence of all these development could result in fuel contamination as some of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Reports of some aircraft accidents have shown.
His words, “Up till about 1992, Jet-A1 supply to Murtala Muhammed Airport, was through pipelines from Ejigbo or the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depot. The supply from the MMA depot to the hydrants on the apron where fuel is dispensed to aircraft, were done also through the pipelines. The method then was quality assurance in practice.”
He however regretted that unfortunately, since the pipelines got ruptured in 1992, nobody in NNPC, NCAA, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and even the airlines-the end users, raised serious concern on why there had been no repairs of the pipelines in 24 years.
The former commandant, Murtala Muhammed Airport, stated that the neglect of the repair of the pipelines is a major reason for the high cost of Jet-A1 and invariably the airlines operating cost if the costs of transportation and demurrage on the tankers are considered.
He explained that these costs are huge and are substantial earnings for the owners of the tankers used for bridging the fuel supply between the NNPC depot and the airport depot, stressing that the tanker owners are those who would not want to see the pipelines repaired.
Meanwhile, Ojikutu has raised alarm over the rising indebtedness of Nigeria’s domestic airlines which grew up to the present level because, most of the operators are sponsored by or are sponsors of political office holders in government.
He noted that with the ‘attitude of we own the government’ most of these operators had no intention of paying for the services rendered to them by the government services providers, despite the Economic Regulation Provisions in the National Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 12 Sections 18.10.1-5, but thanks to the ‘change attitude’brought about by the administration of President Mohamadu Buhari.
He alleged that over the years, there had been some kind of conspiracy among the airlines and their promoters in government who provide the avenue for reliefs or concessions on debts owed to government agencies.
“At some other times, there were government intervention funds given to some of the airlines at a cheap interest rate of two to six per cent to settle their operational debts and bank loans at a time bank’s loans were attracting interest of 23- 25 per cent.”