Cape Town Airport Deals with Jet Fuel Shortage

Cape Town Airport Deals with Jet Fuel Shortage

DALLAS – Due to the delayed arrival of jet fuel supplies, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) has been forced to ration available fuel. The move has had an impact on flight schedules, risking further complications should emergency stocks deplete before the next fuel shipment arrives.

In response to sluggish delivery times from its supplier, CPT began to experience additional delays in acquiring jet fuel, according to a statement from Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). The statement says that choppy seas have delayed the shipment of fuel by maritime vessels.

According to Mark Mclean, a regional general manager at the airport, the left-over jet fuel utilized at CPT is being rationed to keep the airport’s supply steady until the next shipment arrives. In order to keep operating while waiting for the maritime ship to arrive, CPT also acquired around two million liters of emergency jet fuel supplies last week.

The airport handles flights to several destinations in Africa, Europe, and Asia and has also direct flights to Johannesburg and Durban, among other destinations around South Africa. It is a hub FlySafair (FA) and a focus city for South African Airways (SA).

CPT airport, which handled 10,979,946 passengers in 2019, is the main international gateway to Cape Town metropolitan area in South Africa, being the second-busiest airport in the country and the third one in Africa.

United Airlines N25982 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Luke Ayers/Airways

Impacted Flights

While ACSA said on Saturday that there was no impact on scheduled flights, United Airlines (UA) and Emirates (EK) both sent out letters on Sunday morning, October 2, detailing the specific changes made to their itineraries.

According to News 24, UA informed passengers of at least two flights, warning them that the flights from Newark (EWR) to CPT would be canceled due to the CPT fuel situation.

Flight UA1122 from EWR to CPT was originally scheduled to depart at 20:25 Sunday, UA told passengers that the flight was canceled because it was unable to fuel the aircraft. Today’s flight UA1123 from CPT to EWR was also canceled. The status of the next flights is unknown.

On its part, EK sent out a release to the South African retail trade, warning agents that due to the non-availability of fuel at Cape Town from October 2 to October 4, certain flights from CPT will be rerouted/rescheduled via JNB for the uplift of fuel. The affected EK flights are:

  • EK771 Departing  CPT 14h50-17h10 (arrival JNB)       
  • EK771 Departing JNB 18h10-02h201 (arrival DXB)
  • NB – (EK772 DXB-CPT is not impacted and will operate as per the published schedule)

The EK trade release states, “The situation in Cape Town continues to be monitored & an update will be communicated as we get more information from the relevant authorities.  All affected bookings have been rebooked and sent to the contact address in the booking but we suggest that you check your GDS to ensure all affected are informed.”

This is a developing story.

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