Tension is rising as contaminated Aviation Kerosene, also known as Jet A1, floods airports in Lagos, Kano, and Abuja. This development has prompted airlines to implement additional checks during refuelling procedures nationwide.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended all Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Max Air last week after a significant amount of water was discovered in one of the aircraft’s fuel tanks. The authority held the airlines and pilots responsible for the quality of fuel dispensed into their aircraft.
Responding to the incident, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airline, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, urged the NCAA to conduct thorough audits of fuel suppliers across the country to ensure compliance with quality standards.
Meanwhile, the NCAA issued an All Operator’s Letter to alert airlines about the risks and hazards associated with aircraft refuelling. A team of investigators has been dispatched to Lagos, Kano, and Abuja to probe the incidents.
The letter emphasizes the importance of adhering to aircraft refuelling safety procedures and precautions, highlighting the risks of fuel contamination, particularly due to the presence of water. The NCAA advises airlines to improve their refuelling procedures, conduct inspections of refuelling equipment, and test jet fuel quality before refuelling.
Prof. Okonkwo echoed the need for stringent audits of fuel suppliers, emphasizing that only companies meeting the required standards should be licensed to supply Jet A1 to airlines. He also stressed the importance of airlines and pilots taking responsibility for ensuring fuel quality.
While acknowledging that such incidents can occur, he appealed to the NCAA to conduct more comprehensive audits on fuel suppliers, a position consistently advocated by airline operators.
The situation calls for urgent attention and action to address the issue of adulterated aviation fuel, safeguard aircraft operations, and ensure the safety of passengers and crew.