Louis Ibah

The pump price of aviation fuel (better knows as Jet A1) yesterday sold for over N270 per litre in some airports across the country from a previous average price of N230-250 per litre, forcing most local airlines to consider an upward review of air tickets to match the current fuel price cost.

A top official of a local airline who spoke to Daily Sun yesterday said except in Lagos where there has been a marginal price increase in pump price of Jet A1 (it now fluctuates between N215 and N216 per litre from a previous price of N207 per litre),airlines are, at present, buying fuel at over N270 per litre outside Lagos

“In the last one week, oil marketers have increased the pump price of Jet A1 by about 25 per cent, thus throwing up a lot of confusion within the aviation industry as it relates to adjustments in prices of tickets to reflect this reality,” said the source, a spokesperson of one of the airline who wouldn’t want to be named.

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“In Lagos, the price has gone up marginally to over N215 per litre from N207, but once you leave Lagos to other states like Abuja, Uyo, Kano, Owerri, Kaduna you can’t get that price; you can only refuel from about N230 to N250 to N270 per litre. Prices are no longer stable nor predictable. And it is a very disturbing development for airline managers because operating cost have gone up in recent days while ticket cost however remains same, and no one knows if and when the fuel cost will come down,” he added.

The blame, however, lies with the inability of the four petroleum refineries in the country to produce Jet A1, which has resulted in the bulk of the product used being imported from Europe and America and sold at deregulated prices for the airlines. Daily Sun learnt that in the last three days, importers have not only upped prices to reflect global market realities, but have also increased bridging cost (moving imported products from trucks from Lagos ports to other states) and it is this trend that has seen cost of Jet A1 fuel soar above normal in recent days. The crisis at the Lagos ports needs to be addressed speedily because it adds to the financial burden or cost of marketers and, because, unlike PMS that is regulated and the bridging cost paid for by the government, with aviation fuel, whatever added cost borne by the marketers is passed onto the airlines.

“One of the marketers whose price has been considered the cheapest within and outside Lagos has also increased his pump price and linked it to the cost of trucking from Lagos to farther places,” explained the airline official who spoke to Daily Sun.

“For now, we have a situation where airlines are fuelling and refuelling mostly in Lagos because of the economics involved. But this Is not a very safe operational business model; ideally an airline should have no challenge in refuelling at any airport if its aircraft operates into or runs out of fuel,” added the source.

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