/ 6 August 2009

Task team probes shortage of jet fuel

A task team has been set up to investigate what led to the shortage of jet fuel at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.

”The team will investigate the problem and come up with mechanisms that will prevent any future occurrence,” the minister told media in Pretoria.

OR Tambo general manager Chris Hlekane said the airport was stabilising the situation and by the end of next week it would have enough jet fuel.

He said for now there was enough jet fuel to last for about two days, but the situation would improve as the week progressed because the airport was stocking up on fuel. Reserves were usually kept at a five-day level.

The media briefing followed a meeting between Peters, the oil companies and Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) to discuss what led to the shortage of jet fuel.

Peters said the task team would meet weekly and report to her on a monthly basis.

On Tuesday, Acsa spokesperson Solomon Makgale said airlines at the continent’s busiest airport had been asked to voluntarily cut back fuel use by 30%.

Without giving reasons as to what led to the shortage, Transnet, Acsa and oil companies said the problem was a logistic one.

Chris Wells from Transnet said the company was looking at increasing the number of trains transporting fuel to six from the existing five.

The five trains transported 9,2-million litres of fuel a week and the additional train would increase the capacity, he said.

The task team would also ensure that the country had enough fuel going to 2010 World Cup and beyond. — Sapa