Addressing reporters yesterday at the Arik Air headquarters were Mr Chris Ndulue, the Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi is Senior Vice President, Flight Operations and also the Deputy Managing Director, and Mr Sivaswamy Ramachandran, the Senior Vice President, Commercial.
Aviation fuel scarcity started being felt from Thursday last week, 23rdApril. Last week, their flights to London Heathrow, New York JFK and to Johannesburg have had to first fly to cities like Cotonou and Kano, & Port Harcourt to seek for fuel before flying to their scheduled destinations.
Because we are the largest carrier in Nigeria that runs the most number of flights, the scarcity logically means we are most affected by the scarcity. It means more of our flights are delayed than competition. If competition had to cancel only 2 flights, we may have to cancel 20 flights. We require between 500,000 to 800,000 litres of Jet A1 daily to run a smooth operation.
Their Airbus A330, which goes to London and sometimes JFK sometimes require 108,000 litres of fuel. That is about 3 and a half long trucks carrying 30,000 litres of Jet A1 each to fill one plane. The Airbus A340, which flies non-stop to JFK New York, requires 125,000 litres of Jet A1 to embark on that flight. That is over 4 trucks carrying 30K litres each!
Because of the scarcity, we are having to scale down the operations to within 20% of their normal operations on 01 May 2015.
Flight delays and cancellations due to scarcity of aviation fuel is not peculiar to Arik. Other airlines are experiencing delays and cancellation also. They are however most affected due to the scale of their operations.
The management expressed their sincere apologies to their esteemed guest who have suffered untold hardship and disruption during this period of fuel scarcity.