Fuel system failure delays flights at King Shaka

2015-01-07 00:00

A FUEL system failure delayed flights for up to three hours at the King Shaka International Airport yesterday, with planes forced to refuel at other airports.

Airports Company South Africa spokesperson Colin Naidoo said that five aircraft that had been on the apron at the time were affected by the delays.

Three of the aircraft had been refuelled an hour after their initial take-off times but the other two were delayed until midday.

The fuel system problem at the airport was investigated by service provider Sky Tanking.

“As part of the contingency, we have issued a notice to all airlines to fuel their aircraft at their point of departure so that the aircraft will have fuel when departing Durban. We were fuelling aircraft via a fuel truck until the system comes back on line and have managed to ensure the safe departure of all aircraft that were affected with adequate fuel and we will continue with the fuel truck system until the system is back on line,” Naidoo said.

The fuel system failure comes on the back of a water shortage in the area north of Durban that affected the supply to the airport building. Due to lengthy dry spell, water supply had been affected but Naidoo said that the issue had since been resolved.

“King Shaka International managed to rectify water problems but the airport contingency is still in place. Passengers and airport staff will still be issued bottled water for drinking if necessary and our fire department will still assist with water from our fire trucks to ensure restaurants can continue their business, and for restrooms and toilets to be replenished with water. Our team is working closely with the relevant service providers to normalise the situation.”

Naidoo said that the airport was still fully operational despite the shortage and flight delays. “To explain again, all aircraft that are landing at King Shaka International will have adequate fuel to depart Durban to their destination. Should they need to know about their flights they should contact their airlines,” he said.

Meanwhile, airline operator Mango took to Twitter to apologise to passengers for delays, while other Twitter users took the opportunity to poke fun at water shortages.

‏@vera_sylvester tweeted: “No Water at King Shaka International Airport, due to Cleaning the swimming pool at Nkandla … LOL.”

@JennaEtheridge tweeted: “No water at King Shaka International Airport. Yet restaurants are still serving large beers and cocktails. This should be interesting.”

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