It was gathered that thousands of passengers were stranded at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on Friday night as scarcity of aviation fuel grounded most international flights.
It was observed that the passengers had arrived the airport and proceeded to check in, but waited for hours without being attended to at the various counters. It was only when some of the passengers started protesting that officials of South Africa Airways disclosed to them that flights had been cancelled due to scarcity of aviation fuel.
There was no official at the Arik Air office and counter to attend to the worried passengers. However, our correspondent gathered that the scarcity of aviation fuel had taken a huge toll on airline operations with Arik Air declaring on Saturday morning (today) that it had lost an estimated $9m since last week to disruptions of its operations. The airline said the scarcity of aviation fuel had adversely hit its operations, that it was forced to scale down its flights to 20 per cent capacity out of over 100 flights daily .
Its Managing director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, said it had put series of contingency plans in place to ensure it does not shut down its operations because of the scarcity of aviation fuel. He said the airline flew to neighbouring countries in West and Central Africa to source to aviation fuel at a ridiculously high rate to sustain its operations. Ndulue said Arik Air now flies to Ghana, Cameroon and Benin Republic to source for aviation fuel.