The price of aviation fuel, known as Jet A1 in the industry, has continued to increase pushing airlines further into the precipice.
Findings showed that the price of Jet fuel has risen to between N250 and N275 per litre which is about a 200 per cent increase from 2016 when it was sold at N110. It rose to N200 in 2018, hovering around N160 and N170 before it reached between N250 and N270.
Industry sources said the sustained increase in the price of aviation fuel was worsened by the high exchange rate. As of yesterday, the dollar was exchanged for between N490 and N495 in the parallel market.
Some operators link the price hike to the significant rise in airfares with a one-way Lagos-Abuja ticket reaching N120,000 last week.
There are even fears of fuel contamination in some quarters which experts say could threaten flight safety.
Engr. Femi Adeniji of Tropical Arctic Logistics, a helicopter operator who confirmed the current price said any jet fuel cheaper than N270 could have been contaminated.
Operators, however, said only local refining could arrest the consistent increase in the price of jet fuel.
Chairman and CEO of United Nigeria Airlines Dr. Obiora Okonkwo also decried the development which he said added to the cost of operation.
Okonkwo, whose airline debuted about two months ago, said “We started operations at N160 per litre barely two months ago and when you move from that price to over N270 within two months, you should expect whatever we are experiencing now.”
“As you all know, aviation fuel alone takes between 30 to 40 per cent of airlines’ costs. This is cause for grave concern to everyone and I don’t know why it is so high.”
Experts urge the regulatory authority, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to deepen its oversight on aviation fuel suppliers to ensure that the quality of fuel is not compromised.
Group Capt. John Ojikutu, an aviation analyst, also noted that the price could be controlled if the damaged pipelines supplying fuel to the airport were repaired.
“When these are done, you remove the cost of bridging the supply and contamination through trucking with tanks; you remove demurrage on the tanks for the period of waiting before discharge. All these are in addition to the cost of fuel and airlines operational costs,” he said.