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Second Shortage This Month

Aviation fuel shortage hits Wilson Airport in Kenya

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Jan 21, 2010

Last weekend saw a repetition of the New Year fuel shortage at Malindi airport, when Kenya’s busiest aerodrome, Wilson airport, reportedly ran out of fuel. Shell and Total, the two main aviation fuel suppliers in Kenya, remained mum over the shortage, telling air operators to wait for fuel deliveries to arrive from Mombasa.

According to aviation sources, several hundred flights planned for the weekend by private and commercial operators remained grounded due to lack of fuel, a situation which, according to the latest reports from Nairobi, extended well into the week. Representatives of the air operators and from the Aero Club of East Africa continued to complain about the situation, which affected revenues and cost of flights, since several of the scheduled departures from Wilson had to fly into the main international airport for refueling, adding extra landing cost and flight time.

Notably, and again showing a lack of understanding and sensitivity, a spokesperson for Shell was quoted as saying that "there is enough fuel at JKIA" - not exactly helpful for the scores of air operators and private plane owners operating from Wilson airport.

It is not known at this moment if Kenya Revenue Authority red tape and bureaucrazy – pun intended – were ultimately responsible for the lack of fuel supplies, which affected both JetA1 and AVGAS, or if the fuel companies did not provide enough reserves in their main stores in Mombasa and had permitted the tanks to run dry.

Aviation fuel shortage hits Wilson Airport in Kenya
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