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Picture: 123RF/VANBEETS
Picture: 123RF/VANBEETS

Airports Company of SA (Acsa) CEO Mpumi Mpofu has assured airlines fuel supply was “stable” despite the transport challenges caused in the main by floods in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mpofu said the disruptions to transportation “as a result of many factors”, including flood damage, resulted in force majeure being declared by some companies.

About 140 sections of Transnet freight rail lines were damaged on the route to Johannesburg.

“Of the 67 rail tanks en route to OR Tambo International Airport airlines, only 11 arrived, with 56 remaining behind.

“It is estimated Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will only be able to repair the damaged rail infrastructure by June 9, and this has necessitated Acsa, TFR and oil companies to develop an interim plan to have sufficient jet fuel at OR Tambo International Airport.

This disruption to the supply of jet fuel to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, due mainly to flood damage to railway infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal, has caused “uncertainty” among international airlines.

“The proposal in place involving stakeholders is to transport the remaining 56 rail tanks to National Petroleum Refiners of SA (Natref) at Sasolburg and pipe it to OR Tambo International Airport.” 

Mpofu said international and domestic airlines have been notified, where necessary, to refuel at other Acsa airports where supply is not hampered. 

“OR Tambo International Airport is operating on three to four days’ worth of stock which will be sustained over the next six weeks.

“We have confirmation from Natref of an additional supply of 14-million litres of jet fuel. Additionally, we are expecting a shipment of 10-million litres on May 5 which will assist in stabilising Acsa’s fuel levels to approximately three to four days’ worth of stock.

“This situation has created uncertainty among international airlines, but I want to assure our airline partners and passengers that there is adequate fuel at OR Tambo International Airport and all our airports.

“We are in continued engagements with oil suppliers to share stock. Some international airlines are in the process of confirming the availability of stock directly with their suppliers,” said Mpofu.

“Before airlines take drastic decisions to cancel flights, given the perceived uncertainty of jet fuel availability at OR Tambo International Airport, they are encouraged to contact Acsa.”



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