We're on top of fuel issues, Acsa says

2012-11-16 17:35

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.

  • bill.mckimm.9 - 2012-11-16 17:46

    Watch this space! Another cadre run institution will need to go begging bowl in hand to the Government for a bail out or will have to increase prices by 25%.

  • christopher.m.lowe - 2012-11-16 18:21

    Acsa? On top of it? Do you believe them? I don't. This is what happens when you let unqualified friends and cadres run riot in a parastatal. Watch the fees go up. Again.

      en.gineer.359 - 2012-11-16 18:58

      And the thousands of flights that had perfectly good fuel before today? Who was responsible for those? Guess those unqualified fuel technicians were just lucky all this time. It's Friday dude....go have a few beers and relax

      john.barbarian.9 - 2012-11-16 19:24

      "Perfectly good fuel before today" ? You don't want to know that. Likely we didn't had any accidents from underpowered engines or blocked fuel pumps.

  • patrick.saunders123 - 2012-11-16 18:38

    all of which doen't answer the questions of how it happened in the first place, who is responsible and who has to pay for it. How about a bit of transparency here?

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-16 19:53

      Good luck on that Patrick... What will follow is denials, spin and lies. Someone probably diluted the fuel to make some money...

  • arnold.niemand.5 - 2012-11-16 18:51

    This is not frigge taxi fuel, no pulling over onto the kerb when things go awry in a plane

  • joe.smit.549 - 2012-11-16 18:55

    Can't you just dump it...............over Nkand........

  • mahomed.mather - 2012-11-16 19:16

    How did the fuel get contaminated in the first place? They should be made to pay for this cost, but ACSA will just pass on this expense to us passengers in terms of airport taxes.

  • brian.dlamini - 2012-11-16 21:04

    Wow there isn't much brain power on this forum.. Firstly ACSA are not responsible 4 the contamination it's Natref (Sasol, Total and the Petroleum company) contamination can be caused by numerous reason and its rather early to speculate. Human error is usually th case but considering the number of non-contaminated days u can't assume incompetence. Most of u can't say the companies u work for have 100% product or service quality. These things happen and it's just how u respond to it.

  • Jim - 2012-11-16 21:13

    What is it contaminated with?

  • brian.dlamini - 2012-11-16 23:14

    Margie it's called an ATG system, it detects any contamination in the tank, that's y they detected it b4 contamination passed onto the aircrafts. It's highly unlikely contaminated fuel wil get onto an aircraft

  • miyo27 - 2012-11-17 07:27

    you'll probably find that some ANC comrade is one of the big chiefs and who either directly or indirectly benefits from this you think they're just gonna sit back and let all the fuel be discarded without demanding compensation???...nah, of course not. They're greedy.

  • anakin.skyvader.9 - 2012-11-17 08:50

    Clearly no one EVER thought that there should be a simple method put in place whereby any contaminated aviation fuel could be returned to sender (ie Natref at Sasolburg) where they can then sort out the problem - ie re-recycle it/re-process it/store it/whatever. They need to think 'out-of-the box' at OR Tambo and Sasol: once the bulk volume has been pumped back to Natref Sasol then they will still have to flush out the underground tanks but it should be easier then, with a much smaller amount of fuel to deal with - although still remaining an expensive little 'mistake'. To the outsider it appears that the pumps are one-directional only ie when you have the fuel at OR Tambo your'e 'stuck with it' - did anyone think of having a method whereby you can reverse the flow back to Natref Sasol? I bet it's a NO NO NO NO NO that's impossible thinking like that. Now millions of litres have to be flushed out first at OR Tambo side, taking days and days and wasting everyone's time and money : I bet all the flushed out fuel will now have to be trucked back to Sasol truck by truck...come on you guys at Sasol and OR Tambo, there must be a quicker way to automate such a clean-out process. What if ALL the underground tanks were contaminated by accident - due to unforeseen circumstances? What is the contingency plan then? How long will it take then to re-stock/flush the system or will they have to shut down OR Tambo completely then? Just wondering how effective the systems are?

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