From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Operators of airlines in Nigeria has sent a Save Our Soul (SOS) message to the federal government on the high cost of aviation fuel, which they say is astronomical and killing the industry.
The body, Airline Operators of Nigeria AON, charge the government to immediately revive the revive the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) at Warri refinery and the pipeline –hydrant system of supplying aviation fuel to the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
Its Chairman, Capt. Nogie Meggison said the cost of aviation fuel (Jet A1) at N160 to N170 per litre as supply by oil marketers takes more than 40 percent of operation of any airline in the country.
“The Federal Government must intervene on the issue by ensuring that it revives the Warri refinery, Atlas Cove and Mosemi pipelines –hydrant system for supplying aviation fuel. The pipelines that supplied aviation fuel to the airport before it was shut down by the late General Sani Abacha led military regime in January 1996 were fully functional.” He told reporters in Lagos.
Meggison added that before the pipelines were ordered to close in 1996, aircraft were fueld using the aviation fuel hydrant at the Murtala Muhammed Airport without the use of truck as fuel were supplied to the airport from the port as they were pumped through pipeline from Atlas Cove and Mosimi.
He said “The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation should look into the possibility of reviving the pipelines, which obviously must have become rusty and corroded having been abandoned for 18 years.
“We need NNPC to revive this pipeline so that airline can get cheaper and cleaner aviation fuel”
According to him, the cumbersome chain of distribution and supply the product goes through before it get to airline operators, cost of importing fuel, delay at seaport which translate into high demurrage paid by oil marketers, cumbersome and dramatic process of loading at the Apapa port and inefficient transportation of the product by road from the Apapa port to the Joint Users Hydrant Installation (JUHI) at the airport is the cause for increase in airfares.