“We cannot guarantee jet fuel from third countries.” Last week, the director of the new Blaise Diagne International Airport, Senegal’s new air gateway, sent a letter to all facility operators. Supply problems and the high cost of kerosene forced the Dakar government to limit the supply of this aviation fuel. Domestic carriers have been told to have absolute priority over bookings, and international carriers have been warned that they may not be able to refuel, something to be aware of on their return flights.
Senegalese commercial aviation is small, with two airlines and eleven unaffected aircraft. Some European operators were affected, who had to make a technical stop in Morocco or the Canary Islands on their flights back to the airport of departure in order to be able to refuel. Others had to carry full tanks to fly to and from Dakar. This led to an increase in the cost of the trip, as the extra fuel makes the aircraft heavier and more consumed in flight.
It was about time. Problems with jet fuel were bound to spill over to other countries on the continent. The most extreme case is Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with 207 million inhabitants. From next Monday, this 910,770 square kilometer area will be left without domestic air transport, which will greatly affect its economy. Ironically, oil accounts for 40% of Nigeria’s GDP and about 80% of Abuja’s government revenue comes from this sector.
Oil makes up 40% of the GDP of an African country that, as of Monday and despite this, will lose wings from Monday.
Thus, the 14th oil-producing country in the world, the first in Africa and the tenth in reserves, will find themselves without wings next week. It is because of the rise in price of this product. The association, which brings together the operators of the country’s major airlines, announced the measure yesterday to the aviation minister in a letter explaining that astronomical increases in fuel prices make it impossible to continue flying.
Until last year, a liter of Jet A-1 aviation turbine fuel cost 190 naira, equivalent to 0.43 euros per liter at Nigerian airports. It rose to 360 naira (€0.82) in January and jumped to more than 700 naira in April, which means paying more than 1.60 euros per litre.
The current situation is completely unacceptable.”
“Recently, we have been putting up as much as possible, practically not raising prices, in order to cooperate in restoring the country’s economy, although the current situation is completely inaccessible,” Abdulmunaf Yunus, president of the airline association, owner of the company. , is recognized in the text by Azman Air and one of the richest people in Nigeria.
In commercial aviation, fuel typically accounts for roughly 20% of costs, a figure that has dropped to 16% in 2020, for example, due to a lack of demand. On the other hand, during the crisis years, for example, in 2012, it exceeded 33%. In the case of Nigeria since this spring, costs have risen in such a way that it is better for all operators to leave the planes on the ground than to take them in flight, selling tickets at exorbitant prices, which, in addition to not covering costs, would force the planes to fly with low capacity and, therefore, with a large number of empty seats.
The fuel price issue will overshadow the strike that the aviation sector has planned for the early days of next week. The three major unions, which include virtually all aviators, flight crews, maintenance technicians and airport personnel, have joined forces to demand an adjustment to the minimum wage agreed in 2019. Three years later, these agreements remain unfulfilled.
With an indefinite lockout, three days of unemployment for aviation personnel will be diluted with a scenario that will be watched from neighboring countries as well as from Europe. To put in context what has been lost since next Monday, the figure is: Nigerian Airways operates an average of 1,650 flights a week. Of these, 95% are national operations that will be suspended indefinitely.
Ironically, the African oil king was left without commercial flights … because of the price of this product.
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