Monday, 16 May 2016

Airlines Cancel Flights Over Aviation Fuel Scarcity

The scarcity of aviation fuel, which has affected the industry over the past few days, became worse on Sunday as a number of domestic airlines cancelled their evening flights out of Lagos, while others simply rescheduled them.

Among the airlines that cancelled their flights were Aero Contractors, Medview and First Nation, while Dana Air rescheduled it flights out of Lagos.

As a result, many passengers, who were due to travel from the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2, had their plans disrupted.

Stakeholders in the industry had recently estimated that the scarcity of aviation fuel had led to 50 per cent reduction of the carrying capacities of the local airlines.

An intending passenger, who was scheduled to fly into Abuja, explained that while some passengers made frantic efforts to make alternative flight arrangements, several others whose flights were cancelled left the airport in disappointment.

According to the passenger who was due to fly Dana Air’s flight 9J 359 from Lagos to Abuja, the 5.10pm flight was cancelled with the passengers dispersing in disappointment.

However, he later received a message from the airline’s customer service team at about 5.50pm, informing him that the flight had been rescheduled for 18.30 hours.

“It is scandalous and disheartening. A lot of passengers were left confused as to what to do because most of them seemed to have one engagement or the other to honour at their destinations. Even the message notifying me of the rescheduling came in after I had returned home,” the passenger said.

When contacted, the spokesperson for Dana Air, Kinsley Ezenwa, said none of the airline’s flights was cancelled, adding that they were instead rescheduled.

“The scarcity of aviation fuel has no doubt been affecting flight operations generally. But we have been trying to give the best of services notwithstanding the challenges posed by the scarcity,” Ezenwa explained.

On its part, the management of Aero Contractors apologised to its customers over the delay and cancellation of some of its flights.

According to a statement by SY&T Communications Limited, consultants to the airline, Aero explained that it was experiencing fuel scarcity because its contract suppliers were unable to supply Jet-A1.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said that the new Civil Aviation Regulations, promulgated in December last year, will take effect on July 1, 2016.

This was contained in a circular, with reference number NCAA/DG/AOL/21/16/01, sent to all airline operators by the agency.

According to the NCAA, the review of the old regulations, incorporated in 2009, became necessary in order to standardise operational, implementation and enforcement procedures in the industry.

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