The Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources have entered into a partnership to address recent incidents of Jet A1 fuel contamination, also known as QAV, which poses significant risks to air transport and passenger safety.
During an advocacy visit to the permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Gabriel Aduda, on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole highlighted the need for swift action to arrest the development.
Meribole highlighted the purpose of his advocacy visit, which was to inform the top officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources about the concerns in the aviation industry regarding contaminated aviation fuel in Nigeria. He emphasised that the issue has gained international attention, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) taking note of complaints received from airlines operating in Nigeria.
He further informed his host that Nigeria, as a signatory to the Chicago Convention of 1944, must comply with the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) outlined in ICAO Annex 19. These practices are designed to help states manage aviation safety risks and support the continuous improvement of safety performance. The advocacy visit aimed to achieve alignment with these standards.
Meribole emphasised that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace to ensure the necessary safety measures are in place to prevent accidents and make flights safe for passengers and cargo. He conveyed that his ministry had taken proactive steps by providing clear instructions to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the civil aviation regulator in Nigeria, on how to address the issue of aviation fuel contamination. He assured that the NCAA was already collaborating with agencies in the petroleum sector and airline operators to address the problem.
In his response, Aduda expressed gratitude for the visit and acknowledged the importance of fulfilling Nigeria’s international obligations with respect to flight safety and security in line with the Chicago Convention and its relevant annexes. He recognised the vital role aviation plays in a nation’s economic development and agreed on the need to take all necessary measures to ensure the integrity of the value chain in the importation and supply of Jet A1 fuel to airlines.
Aduda stressed the significance of putting checks and balances in place to prevent any compromise in the fuel supply chain. He expressed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources’ appreciation for the visit, as it provided an opportunity to synergise and collaborate with the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace to address the issue of Jet A1 contamination effectively. He highlighted the potential negative impact on the country’s image and resources if the problem is not addressed promptly, leading to foreign airlines choosing not to refuel in Nigeria.
To facilitate a comprehensive discussion and solution to the issue, he proposed an expanded meeting between the ministries of Petroleum Resources, Aviation and Aerospace, relevant stakeholders in the Jet A1 supply chain and end users in the sector. He believed that such a meeting would yield positive outcomes for the country.
The collaboration between both ministries signify a significant step towards ensuring flight safety and enhancing Nigeria’s reputation in the international aviation community. By addressing the issue of Jet A1 contamination promptly and effectively, the nation can safeguard its aviation industry and bolster its economic growth.