We're on top of fuel issues, Acsa says

2012-11-16 17:35
Airport fuel storage (Picture: <a href=\http://www.shutterstock.com\>Shutterstock</a> )

Airport fuel storage (Picture: Shutterstock )

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Johannesburg - Efforts continued on Friday afternoon to remedy the contamination of seven million litres of jet fuel supplied to Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport.

"The contaminated fuel in the two tanks has been isolated and cannot be used. The airport has certified fuel in the other tanks that is being used for refuelling," said BP Air, the managing partner in the fuel consortium at the Airports Company SA (Acsa).

Currently, the airport had fuel for 1.4 days and the fuel supply industry, led by Air BP, was addressing the situation, Acsa said in a statement.

Airlines and fuel suppliers met on Friday morning to discuss the situation after Acsa announced the contamination of the fuel from Natref on Thursday night.

Earlier, Sasol said the Natref jet fuel storage and supply system to the airport was being flushed and an investigation into the cause of the contamination was underway.

Sasol and the Total Oil and Petroleum Company are joint venture partners in the facility, which pumps the fuel to the airport.

Sasol spokesperson Jacqui O'Sullivan said among the options activated to deal with the situation was an agreement with airlines to take up additional fuel at alternative sites in the country, thereby reducing demand at the airport.

Sasol had also asked other service providers to provide short-term support pending the resumption of normal pumping activities at Natref.

Transnet Freight Rail had made additional capacity available from the coast.

It was anticipated the Natref facility would be cleared to resume normal pumping of jet fuel to the airport at the weekend.

"The resolution of this matter is our priority and we will restore normal operations as quickly as possible," she said.

Earlier, Acsa spokesperson Solomon Makgale said the airport was operating normally.

"People must come to the airport. It is running."

The airport normally received about three million litres of fuel a day, through the Natref pipeline. Details on the cost of the contamination were not immediately available.

The airport serves around 17 million domestic and international passengers a year.

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