Dana Air, Ibom warn of delayed flights over fuel scarcity, runway closure

DANA Air and Ibom Air have warned of possible delayed flights owing to issues of fuel scarcity, and closure of a domestic runway for repairs.

Last week, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) concluded plans to shut down flight operations on runway 18L/36R for 90 days.

The closure of the runway would help the authority complete the installation of CAT III Airfield Ground Lighting system.

Both airlines, while apologising in their statements, assured passengers they would do all they could to prevent delays.

Dana Air, in a statement on Instagram, said, “Due to the prevailing fuel scarcity in some airports around the country, we envisage slight delays in the coming days.

“While we are doing our best to mitigate the expected delays, we shall keep you informed of any changes in our schedule.”

Dana Air's Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sukhjinder Paul Mann
Dana Air’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sukhjinder Paul Mann

Ibom Air also warned passengers of possible delays in their flight schedules due to fuel scarcity and closure of the domestic runway.

A statement signed by the airline’s management on Friday, July 15, 2022, said it had been trying to avoid delays but, unfortunately, some of its measures had not yielded fruits due to these two factors.

Its statement read, “The Management of Ibom Air regrets to inform the general public and our customers in particular that despite our best efforts, our passengers will experience flight delays this period, due to two critical factors:

“The closure of the domestic runway (Runway 18L) at Murtala Mohammed Airport for the next 3 months; and the current serious scarcity of aviation fuel. Both factors have resulted in our operations being delayed more often than not.”

The airline, however, promised to minimize the impact of these factors on their flight schedules.

In its scorecard for last month, the airline reported a 79 per cent on-time performance as it cancelled 58 flights, while delaying 199 flights out of the 1,023 scheduled flights it operated.

Ibom Air June 2022 scorecard.

In May 2022, Ibom Air was the only airline that refused to down tools when its counterparts threatened on May 6, 2022 to discontinue their services from Monday, May 9, 2022 owing to the high cost of aviation fuel.

The price of the fuel had then spiralled to N700 a litre from N500, a situation airline operators cried would dangerously eat into their profit margins and could drive them out of business.

The ICIR checks during that period observed that Ibom Air had scheduled one one-way Lagos to Abuja flight for 11am, but at a well surged fare of N95,000. The trip had hitherto attracted the neighbourhood of N50,000 for all the airlines, while for most business class tickets, the general cost was around N80,000.

Before economy fares even rose to N50,000, one-way tickets were priced at N23,000 to N28,000, depending on how soon one could book.

Ibom Air
Ibom Air fares surge to N95,000. Photo Credit: Ibom Air airlines page/ Mined by ICIR’s joseph Olaoluwa

Responding to The ICIR‘s inquiry on what informed the high fare of N95,000 for that 11am one-way economy flight, the Group Manager, Marketing and Communication, Ibom Air, Annie Essienette, said the airline would never sell an economy ticket for that much to rip off passengers.

Speaking in a similar interview on Monday, May 9, 2022 on an Arise Television programme, the Aero Contractors Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abdullahi Mahmood, said the airline operators would meet the federal government at 2pm that afternoon.

    Mahmood added that members of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) remained united. “There was no division; we all agreed and then, later, we called it off. But for Ibom, they were the first to disagree. They explained why they took their decision. Maybe they might have some funding somewhere, but if you don’t have any source of funding, there is no way you can continue. We stand by it, there is no division,” he said.

    He explained the strike was inevitable because of the way the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) handled the matter regarding the purchase of aviation fuel.

    Mahmood said the logical thing would be to increase the air fare, but that was not something the operators had in mind.

    He added that the operators needed to involve the government, with a view to protecting the citizens.

    Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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