Airports and airlines do have enough jet fuel to support continued
full commercial operations, both the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) and the Air Transport Association (ATA) said
The FAA and the ATA
issued the statements after some individuals were quoted in the
media suggesting shortages could force some airports to shut
There are jet fuel
shortages, some of which have been exacerbated by the impact of
Hurricane Katrina on Gulf Coast refineries and jet fuel
But given that a
number of major pipeline operators have now resumed operations, we
believe the aviation industry will not face any immediate
disruptions relating to the supply of jet fuel, the FAA
The ATA, for its
part, also declared there is not an imminent threat of significant
flight cancellations or airports being shut down.
Over the next several weeks
fuel supply problems could become more critical if the supply line
is not restored ATA president and CEO James May said. However,
reports from both oil companies and pipelines indicate positive
The ATA already was
talking before the hurricane about jet fuel shortages at some
airports, and it said the effects of Katrina reduced the production
of jet fuel by 13%.
shortages include Charlotte, N.C.; Fort Myers and West Palm Beach,
Fla.; and Washington (Dulles), the ATA said.
The ATA never said
any airports were in danger of shutting down. But it did say
keeping them stocked has been a major logistical
One way the airline
industry has been doing it is by trucking fuel to the airports.
Another is by a method called tankering. With tankering, airlines
carry extra fuel in an aircraft when flying to the airport so they
wont need to fill up as much for the subsequent flight.
One airline, for
example, recently loaded its aircraft with 60,000 extra gallons for
a flight from Denver. That can be costly to an airline, however,
because a heavier plane burns more fuel. As a general rule, an
aircraft burns about 200 additional pounds of fuel for every 1,000
pounds it carries above its optimal level, a pilot told
ATA chief economist
John Heimlich said other potential methods for coping with the
shortages include more fuel conservation -- although airlines have
been doing plenty of that already to cope with rising fuel
prices-and schedule reductions.
reporter Andrew Compart, send e-mail to [email protected].