All domestic carriers operating at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) have been forced to cancel their flights due to a shortage of aviation jet fuel (JET A1).
All four carriers: Antrak, Starbow, Fly540 and Africa World Airlines on Saturday had to cancel their evening flights to Kumasi and Tamale and may have to wait till Tuesday to resume operations.
Enquiries by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) revealed that several factors including the inability of the Tema Oil Refinery to supply enough fuel from the bulk distributor companies, reductions in the quantity of fuel supplied to Ghana by Togo due to increased demand and increase in fuel prices have all contributed to the shortage.
The Joint User Hydrant Installation (JUHI), made up of the three fuel companies who supply fuel for aircrafts at the airport; Shell, Goil and Total, yesterday issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to the various airlines informing them that there would be no refuelling from Saturday due to a general shortage of Jet A1 in the sub-region and also some challenges at Togo where Ghana buys fuel.
Mrs Catherine Apeagyei, Aviation Operations Manager at Shell Ghana limited, a member of JUHI, told the GNA that the notification was sent on Friday and again at noon on Saturday to the airlines.
She explained that although their average daily sales was 15 trucks, they had only received seven trucks from Togo as at Saturday evening but were hoping to get three trucks more by Sunday.
JUHI had also sent trucks to Cote D’Ivoire for fuel but those trucks would not be back till Monday, February 18, 2013.
She said, however, that this was not guaranteed, as it would depend on the availability of the product at Togo, who also had some challenges and was also faced with higher demand for the product.
Mrs Apeagyei said they did not receive any fuel at all from Togo on Friday and Burkina Faso was also now loading fuel from Togo as well.
She said the situation may normalise by February 19 or 20 when they expect to receive some more fuel.
Meanwhile, officials of some of the domestic airlines said they would have to either reschedule the flights for their customers or refund monies to those who did not wish to travel anymore. This would cause considerable financial loss to the airlines.
International airlines operating and refueling at the KIA are making alternative arrangements to refuel elsewhere, although there would be a lot of inconvenience in doing so.