Energy fund commits 1.5-million litres of fuel to address crisis at OR Tambo
The Central Energy Fund (CEF) has undertaken to provide 1.5-million litres of jet fuel to address shortages which have seen more than a dozen flights being cancelled at OR Tambo International Airport.
Fourteen flights were cancelled from May 1, with 3,150 passengers affected and Acsa losing more than R1.5m plus landing fees.
This was announced by Airports Company SA (Acsa) CEO Mpumi Mpofu in a media briefing on Monday afternoon.
Mpofu said this was an intervention agreed upon at an earlier meeting attended by, among others, the CEF, board of airlines and the Airline Association of Southern Africa to address the challenges of "fuel supply mismatch".
"If the airlines cannot find jet fuel from their suppliers, the Central Energy Fund steps in," Mpofu said.
The problems of energy supply were exacerbated by damage during the recent floods to a Transnet fuel line which transported jet fuel from Durban to OR Tambo.
Mpofu said stakeholders met on Monday to develop a plan to ensure supply.
She said the supply of fuel was "stable" at the airport but demand often outstrips supply, mainly because of the non-availability of the Transnet line.
She said the airport now had jet fuel stock of 3.5 days.
"It's comfortable for us to be at 3.5 days but we've indicated that we've had supply challenges," Mpofu said.
Mpofu said a consignment of jet fuel has arrived at Durban harbour and was being pumped into a refinery at the National Petroleum Refinery which will help alleviate the problem at OR Tambo.
Siganeko Magafela, head of security of supply at the SA Petroleum Industry Association, said they expected the fuel in Durban to arrive at the airport on May 19.
"We expect the shipment to alleviate some of the issues and we are confident we will be able to meet this challenge," Magefela said.
Tshepo Mokoka, CEO of the Central Energy Fund, said they would deal with any shortages by making available an emergency supply in partnership with the private sector.
George Mothema, CEO of the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (Barsa), said they were pleased with the CEF coming on board and helping their members affected by the supply challenges.
"This should in the short-term address the issues of tankering and the cancellation of flights," Mothema said.
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