A massive shortage of airline fuel has caused major disruption and flight delays to occur at Melbourne Airport, the second busiest Airport in Australia and one which serves thousands of passengers from Europe every year.
The reason behind the shortage is believed to be because substandard fuel was delivered to the airport and airport testing procedures failed to adequate detect the substandard shipment. The lack of the proper type of aviation fuel will now require airplanes to divert to other airports to pick up the correct type of fuel.
According to the Australian Public Broadcaster ABC, the problems have caused an internal spat between cabinet ministers.
The ABC has been told that less than 2 million litres of aviation fuel is available at the country’s second busiest airport after a shipment of imported fuel failed quality controls following its arrival by ship in Melbourne.
Victorian Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said she wrote to Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester on October 17 requesting his immediate intervention.
“While Melbourne Airport falls under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, the Andrews Labor Government is willing to provide any assistance it can to ensure a prompt resolution,” she said in a statement.
“I’ve also asked for an urgent meeting with Mr Chester to discuss the development of a plan for greater storage capacity and the need for competition among fuel suppliers.”
The website also reported that the fuel problems will likely to be of great concern to International carriers.
Barry Abrams, executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, said the fuel shortage was particularly troubling for international airlines and was likely to cause problems from as early as this afternoon.
“International airlines were last night advised that due to shortages in the supply of jet fuel to the airport, the National Operating Committee on Jet Fuel Supply Assurance changed the fuel supply status in Melbourne to a ‘black traffic light’ and immediate and deep fuel rationing,” Mr Abrams said.
Mr Abrams, whose members spend more than $4 billion annually on fuel, said that the shortages were due to a failure to deal with known and avoidable fuel supply issues and were now undermining the growth of Victoria’s aviation and tourism industries.
“There’s a lack of urgency in addressing this issue and there has been no orderly investments to increase the capacity of the jet fuel infrastructure supply chain since the previous shortages in 2015, despite growing demand for jet fuel at Melbourne Airport,” he said.