SHELL ACCUSED OF DAYLIGHT ROBBERY OVER NEW AVGAS PRICES
Shell Uganda is fast becoming a byword for all things negative and bad for those in the aviation fraternity using traditional piston engined aircraft, when news emerged that the cost for AVGAS has just again been raised inexplicably by the company. A large number of aircraft registered in Uganda, used by locally registered air charter companies and flying schools, but also owned by individuals for business or leisure flying, continue to use AVGAS and will do so for many years to come.
Information received from regular aviation sources confirms that the cost of a litre of AVGAS in Nairobi for instance is at present US Dollars 1.59 while in Uganda, even considering the extra delivery distance, a litre now sells for an incredible US Dollars 2.81. Aviators have blamed the company of profiteering and one more outspoken source called it alleged racketeering, mindful of the legal consequences, but overall has this latest increase in fuel cost put a damper on the local aviation scene.
Pleasure flying has according to a source at KAFTC reduced considerably and the cost for training has risen sharply again, making it ever harder for the next generation of young Ugandans being able to afford getting the initial PPL before moving towards a CPL where they can get the hours needed before they can be employed.
While the chronic shortages have now been addressed through the initiative of Kajjansi based operators which installed tanks and a bowser, reportedly Shell again was unable to guarantee regular supplies making this significant added investment necessary, the cost differential of AVGAS between Kenya and Uganda, even considering that the value of the Uganda Shilling has depreciated considerably, can no longer be justified, more so as the commodity trades in US Dollars anyway.
Safari operators using air charters in their itineraries for clients also appear upset by the constant added fuel supplement charges which have driven the cost of upmarket safaris further up, making the destination even more pricey than it was before and starting to have a serious impact on the use of chartered aircraft.
Meanwhile has a regular CAA source feigned ignorance over the problem but had to concede that fuel suppliers are working under a CAA concession and that overpricing and arbitrary price fixing would very likely contradict concession terms, and while wishing not to be quoted suggested that affected local airlines make formal complaints to the Civil Aviation Authority providing all the relevant data and details including price comparisons with Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Watch this space for the inevitable next chapter of another never ending story.