Fuel crisis at OR Tambo

2012-11-15 21:23

Johannesburg - The fuel pipeline to the OR Tambo International Airport has been contaminated and rendered unfit for use by airlines, the Airports Company SA (Acsa), said on Thursday.

"The impact of the contamination on the fuel pipeline is such that approximately seven million litres of fuel, which is currently in storage, is unusable, reducing OR Tambo International Airport's stock levels from four days to 1.6 days," Acsa spokesperson Solomon Makgale said in a statement.

He said Acsa had been advised by the Fuel Consortium that the fuel line between the National Petroleum Refiners of SA (Natref) refinery in Sasolburg and the airport had been contaminated with "off-specification Jet A-1".

The airport normally receives about three million litres of fuel a day through the dedicated pipeline from Natref, said Makgale.

"Acsa, together with its airline stakeholders, is engaging the fuel suppliers on what measures can be taken to maintain the supply of jet fuel at OR Tambo International Airport," he said.

"An announcement in this regard will be made tomorrow morning."

Makgale said an airport management team was working with domestic and international airlines on various measures, including the uptake of fuel at Acsa's other network of airports.

"These are aimed at minimising the impact on airlines, passengers and overall airport operations.

"At this point in time, the airport is operating normally and the same is expected tomorrow.

"We remain hopeful that the fuel suppliers will find a solution as a matter of urgency. Acsa will provide all the necessary support," he said.

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-11-15 21:31

    7 Million omg whoes gonna pay for that?

      etienne.leroux.1690 - 2012-11-15 21:42

      Who else! The tax payer! Seeing we are already bailing them out!

      stirer.kathray - 2012-11-16 05:56

      Etienne, SAA were bailed out - not ACSA.

      Katoolsie - 2012-11-16 06:37

      The Fuel isnt gone...Its in storage and they cant use it until the pipeline is more carefully next time

      kseyffert - 2012-11-16 07:38

      Airline passengers because the cost will eventually be passed to the airlines, although in this case, it seems the contamination is from the refinery so they would be responsible for making good. Probably covered by insurance...

      walter.tgsa - 2012-11-16 07:47

      Would also be interesting to learn HOW this happened? And what action was taken against that/those persons responsible?

      sean.carbutt - 2012-11-16 08:43

      One may ask WHY is SAA always running at such a huge loss and forever requesting ‘bail outs’ from the government? The reason appears to be quite simple – they have too many people working for them and the business simply cannot afford it! Many of these SAA employees fall into the ‘protected employees’ category, (those that simply have a job and do very little to substantiate their worth. In fairness, SAA also had them during the apartheid days), and our Employment Act prevents the SAA from simply ‘getting rid’ of surplus or unnecessary staff. 1)QANTAS (Australian)32 500 employees with a total of 252 aircraft = 129 employees per aircraft 2)American Airlines 87 897 employees with a total of 618 aircraft = 142 employees per aircraft 3)Delta Airlines 106 216 employees with a total of 722 aircraft = 147 employees per aircraft 4)British Airways 36 832 employees with a total of 238 aircraft = 154 employees per aircraft 5)United Airlines 115 149 employees with a total of 710 aircraft = 162 employees per aircraft 6)South African Airways 55 500 employees with a total of 58 aircraft = 957 employees per aircraft

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-11-15 21:32

    Zuma's family?

  • PumaFred - 2012-11-15 21:36

    so the problem is not an ACSA problem but a problem with the Natref refinery (Sasol). HEad line should have read Sasol supplied Dodgy fuel to ACSA

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-16 06:11

      I will wager that someone somewhere tried to make a quick buck - either at ACSA or Sasol or both. Watch this space...

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-11-16 08:28

      Very weirdly your comment only got one response.

  • alan.yates.18007 - 2012-11-15 21:51

    'Has been contaminated', as if it's an act of God. Q : Who is responsible? (Clue : not apartheid)

      rodney.bevan.58 - 2012-11-15 22:00

      Wanna bet? somehow the ANC will twist it so the whiteys get the blame, may as well accept that.

      indianajohn - 2012-11-15 22:28

      Contamination is the standard term used in aviation for fuel with any foreign matter in it, including water, or another type of fuel. It could be due to negligence, mechanical failure, or even a leak caused by construction work far away. I'm just as pissed off as you guys but there is absolutely nothing to indicate that our useless government has anything to do with this. Lets keep it real until proven otherwise and preserve our credibility, otherwise we're no better.

      indianajohn - 2012-11-15 23:00

      The system in place to test fuel quality also clearly works just fine.

  • mxolisi.shadrack.7 - 2012-11-15 21:53

    Acsa shud ensure everythn is in order before it hit us hard...

      kseyffert - 2012-11-16 07:42

      Margie, no. Jet-A1 - jet fuel is contaminated. Small craft use petrol, very high octane but petrol none the less. Jet fuel is kerosene not petrol...

  • SharonE - 2012-11-15 22:23

    It would be interesting to hear what the announcement will be. This article certainly leaves more questions than answers. Are workers at Sasol gearing up for a strike? Was the contamination caused by sabotage? OR Has this been going on for some time, and only identified now? Are they selling sub-standard jet fuel to airlines at prime cost to make money, putting the lives of the passengers and crews at risk? The mind boggles.

      indianajohn - 2012-11-16 10:01

      The mind boggles at your comment. This happens all over the world. Can we please not become as stupid as the ANC supporters who think without logic and jump to ludicrous conclusions based on absolutely nothing. It makes you no better than them, but I know from your previous comments that you've got your head screwed on right most of the time. Stick to blaming the ANC for things they've done wrong. It's not like there isn't enough to keep us busy. If it emerges that they are to blame for this then sure, have a field day, but talking about strikes, sabotage, sub-standard jet fuel and risking passengers' lives when all you have is contaminated fuel, like any airport in the world experiences at some point, is madness. At least the system in place to test the fuel works. Nobody says anything about that.

  • Erna - 2012-11-15 22:59

    Never mind the inconvenience. What about the cost?

  • maximillion.power.79 - 2012-11-15 23:27

    Maintenance failure??

  • lientjiew - 2012-11-15 23:27

    There goes the tax payers money...

  • charmaine.rowlands - 2012-11-15 23:37

    ummm, what are they going to do with the 7 MILLION litres of "contaminated" fuel?

  • charmaine.rowlands - 2012-11-15 23:41

    Ummmm, what are they going to do with the 7 MILLION litres of contaminated fuel?

      Rational100 - 2012-11-16 05:50

      Take it back to the refinery....mix it with crude...and basically start afresh to boil to say.

      loading123 - 2012-11-16 07:33

      Put it in my car please!

      itcrackpot - 2012-11-16 13:35

      Put it in my Lambourghini so that it can soar

  • Simon Maabe - 2012-11-15 23:44

    It will go to Nkandla...

  • Earl O Tool - 2012-11-16 00:41

    i fly saturday, sort this out. buy more fuel O.R.Tambo

  • Earl O Tool - 2012-11-16 00:56

    Simon Maabe, you are 2days complete racist @rs3ehole. well done, you get first prize, i wanna be like you

  • danie.smit.587 - 2012-11-16 04:26

    It look again and again like something more than a black skin are required to run a modern economy.

      Cpho Addwin Featherbird - 2012-11-16 07:12

      Ur a fool of da highest order , I blame ur parents to raise such a basta@d of a child!

  • Charles Frederik Robberts - 2012-11-16 05:21


      elvis.lekganyane - 2012-11-16 06:03


      Rational100 - 2012-11-16 06:05

      Nothing to do with BEE!!....Natref knows nothing about BEE ...pls check yo assumptions! .. ACSA maybe a parastatal but they are only a customer at the end of this minority chain with little or no influence on product spec!!

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-16 05:37

    THIS is a case for the zulu traditional chief called "Ungaze tokoloshe"

  • Happy Eric Sekgobela - 2012-11-16 06:36

    Zuma has curse this beautiful country evrything is going wrong

  • mrtinyiko.matsambu - 2012-11-16 06:53

    I thought all the Boeremag members are in prison. I guess, i was wrong. Hoping our intelligence office together with the Hawks and SAPS will find the culprits who are sabotaging our infrastructure.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-11-16 06:53

    this is what happens when a government doesnt keep up infrastructure

  • vaughan.lund - 2012-11-16 06:58

    Highest charges in the world, Worst service in the world. ACSA another proudly South African parastatal.

  • khumbudzo.budeli - 2012-11-16 07:11

    Can sum1 explain this t me hw does AA, BEE and ANC hav t do wth this. Myb am d 1 who dont understand an article.

      indianajohn - 2012-11-16 10:38

      I'm with khumbudzo. There is nothing whatsoever to indicate that this is the fault of the ANC. It could be a private construction company's bulldozer than dug too deep, several km away from the airport. Don't we have enough real reasons to moan about the ANC? I can count hundreds. Blaming this on the ANC with no proof at all just means we lose our credibility as rational people, and the ANC fools who say we blame them for everything start being right. It's unbelievable. It's fuel contamination! It happens everywhere! The ANC are such a bunch of useless idiots that we have more than enough to complain about without inventing fairytales. That is the business of the ANC, not us.

  • quarty.vanzyl - 2012-11-16 07:21

    contamination by the cANCer bug

  • rodolfo.bruno.169 - 2012-11-16 07:32

    Are there any other uses for this fuel?Perhaps it can enhance performance to things like lawnmowers and we definetely don't want them to fly!!Have a Saturday morning half price sale ACSA!!

  • murray.wood.923 - 2012-11-16 08:37

    I guess it will be safer to sail by ship to SA then.

  • billy.duplooy.3 - 2012-11-16 08:45

    here we go again....

  • nombu.mkhize.5 - 2012-11-16 09:28


  • stoffel.toit - 2012-11-16 10:52


  • Blixum - 2012-11-16 11:55

    Oops. Don't blame Sasol or Natref or Acsa. Pipe line was compromised when somebody tried to steal fuel from it (like in Nigeria). It happens there on a daily basis. Now starting here as well. Maybe apartheid is also to blame for it because the fuel is so expensive now because of the shipping penalty that was levied during the apartheid years and has not been removed after 18 years.

  • Blixum - 2012-11-16 11:59

    SA has just lost another point in the ratings by a the various ratings agencies. Can you imagine the uneasiness when your plane is fuelling up at ORT and you don't know if the fuel is contaminanted or not and whether your plane will make it to the other side or not.

  • mondli.dlomo.73 - 2012-11-16 14:06

    i can't wait to read how many of our beautiful white people and their coconuts will blame zuma for this.

  • mark.uys.5 - 2012-11-16 17:12

    Colapse of infrastructure... see \africa history 101\ Bad airline fuel, potholes, corruption, no water, don't use electricity, crime, teenage drug use, rhino poching, no work,oops, text space is finished.

  • mikel.kiparski - 2012-11-16 18:09

    did some'one open the wrong tap,and let the wrong fuel in// LAST TIME THEY OPENED THE WRONG TAP FLOODING THE VLEI.

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