Melbourne Airport Fuel Shortage Problem for International Airlines

25th Nov 2016

A fuel shortage at the Melbourne Airport has caused some serious problems for the international airlines as they now had to find other ways to get planes to their scheduled destinations.

The airport even restricted airlines to just half of what they actually needed for their flights

Australian Qantas Airways had to make a fuel stop in Sidney during its Hong Kong-Singapore flight to refuel, while Virgin Australia sent planes to Melbourne with extra fuel on board.

A Melbourne Airport spokeswoman blamed the service provider, Joint User Hydrant Installation (JUHI) for the problem, saying:

"Melbourne Airport encourages the JUHI to consider prioritizing the allocation of available fuel to those airlines most in need and with limited alternatives to manage the disruption, such as long haul international carriers. Melbourne Airport further calls on all fuel suppliers to exert every possible effort to meet their commitments to airlines flying from Melbourne Airport."

The airport spokeswoman also said the Melbourne Airport will "continue to work closely with all airlines to accommodate any changes in their operational plans".

However, Barry Abram, Executive Director of the Board of Airline Representatives has a different opinion regarding the incident:

"We have been briefing industry participants for well over two years, outlining that there were emerging problems in the reliability of the supply and unfortunately there hasn't been an orderly investment in the supply infrastructure necessary to support the growth in jet fuel demand. The problem that you get is, if the demand for fuel gets too tight for supply, the airlines have very little opportunity to react and manage issues in the supply."

According to a spokesman for Qantas, its domestic network was operating normally, but Hong Kong-Singapore flight was affected by the fuel shortage. He said:

"Our operations centre is monitoring the fuel situation at Melbourne Airport and we're working to minimize any disruption to our customers."

A spokeswoman from Virgin Australia apologized in her company's name for the inconvenience:

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and are working hard to have our guests on their way as quickly as possible."