Cape Town Int’l Airport sees low fuel supply


The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has expressed concern of the imposition of jet fuel rations at Cape Town International Airport.  The restrictions are likely to result in disruptions to airline schedules and possibly cancelled flights.

A “Notice to Airmen” (Notam, the standard communication to pilots), warns: “Limited fuel available. Domestic and international operators advised to restrict uplift”.

Reports say rough seas are delaying the arrival of a cargo of jet fuel, with normal supplies at the airport unlikely to be available until Monday 3 October.

The operator of the Cape Town hub, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), said it is continuing to “engage fuel suppliers and airlines to avoid the risk of a fuel shortage and to prevent and minimise flight disruptions”

“Although our local and regional short-haul airlines are able to tanker fuel (i.e. carry more than optimally required for a single flight) to maintain their schedules, in doing so they must incur additional costs as the extra fuel load increases the overall weight of each plane, in turn burning more fuel just to carry the extra contingency supply.   This puts further cost pressures on airlines at a time when they are already struggling with a more than 100 percent rise in the price of jet fuel, higher finance charges and interest rates as well as increased labour and other costs.

“Local airlines also depend heavily on feed traffic to and from long-haul inter-continental carriers, many of which will be unable to tanker fuel over such great distances.  Those airlines may have to resort to intermediate en-route refuelling stops, or fly to Johannesburg or Durban to fill up before starting their long north and east-bound return flights.  In such instances we urge Government to waive the additional on-route air navigation and airport fees airlines will incur in order to comply with the fuel rations at Cape Town and continue to provide the inter-continental connectivity that local airlines and the entire region’s economy depends on.”


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