Airlines and airports deny that there is any threat of possible airport closures due to shortages of jet fuel and are working on plans to limit serious supply disruptions caused by hurricane Katrina. Airlines report that jet fuel is currently in ample supply at most airports in the Southeast US and airlines promise that action already being taken will prevent any closures. “We recognize that this is a serious problem and have already started to ferry fuel into the region to limit our fuel uplifts,” said Robert Sturtz, fuel manager, United Airlines.

AAG reported that airports could face closure due to jet fuel shortages caused by the shutdown of major refineries and pipelines that carry jet fuel to the region. In addition, cargo shipments of jet fuel to Florida ports could be affected by refinery shutdowns in the Gulf Coast and the lack of available US flag vessels to ship petroleum products out of Houston refineries. With foreign flag vessels available, airlines may ask the government to temporarily waive the Jones Act provision that requires US flag vessels on cargo shipments between US ports.

At least one week’s supply of jet fuel will be removed from the system due to the closures of the Colonial and Plantation pipelines. “We lost one week’s delivery to the airports and there is no flexibility in the system to make that back up,” said a major US Gulf Coast refiner. Colonial Pipeline Company reports that they will be bringing in diesel generators in an effort to restore some product shipments on their pipeline by Sept. 2-3. “We are in pretty good shape for the next ten days, after that, all bets are off.” said the major US refiner. (AAG press release)