United Airlines forced to cancel flights to Cape Town because airport runs out of jet fuel
United Airlines has been forced to cancel flights between Newark and Cape Town because the South African city’s international airport has run out of kerosene.
Details of Cape Town’s emerging kerosene crisis first surfaced last Monday when South Africa’s airports company admitted a major fuel delivery had been delayed.
At the time, a spokesman for the airport operator reassured passengers that all scheduled flights would operate as normal, but airlines were asked to come up with contingency plans in case fuel levels would fall to critical levels.
In an attempt to conserve remaining fuel at the airport, airlines were instructed to carry as little fuel as needed for their trip and to consider adding an additional refueling stop.
The airport operator hoped that these measures would be sufficient to keep the flights in service before the arrival of the jet fuel shipment. But on Saturday, ACSA admitted bad weather had further delayed the tanker and officials did not yet know when the vessel would arrive in Cape Town.
In an updated Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM), South Africa’s civil aviation regulator has implored airlines to limit fuel lifts at Cape Town International Airport (CPT) until arrival of cargo.
The airport says it is working closely with airlines as reports have emerged that airlines operating domestic flights have been rationed to just 50% of their usual fuel boost.
A message on United’s website says its service from Newark to Cape Town was canceled on Sunday because the airline is “unable to refuel your aircraft”.
According to data from Radar Flight 24, British Airways was also forced to reroute its daily service from Cape Town to London Heathrow on Sunday, but the airline said it would now operate its BA58 flight as planned.
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