(Posted 28th September 2022)
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) takes note with grave concern of the imposition of jet fuel rations at Cape Town International Airport. These restrictions are now likely to result in disruptions to airline schedules and possibly cancelled flights at a time when the industry and the economy
can ill afford it.
AASA appreciates the efforts being made by the Airports Company South Africa to
manage fuel stocks at the Cape Town International airport. However, the escalation of
jet fuel rations throws into sharp focus South Africa’s vulnerability because of its reliance
on imported jet fuel. We call on Government and fuel suppliers to move with urgency
and put in place a far more robust resilience plan to ensure sufficient stocks of aviation
fuel are always available for our airlines.
Although local and regional short-haul airlines are able to tanker fuel (i.e. carry more
than optimally required for a single flight) to maintain their schedules, in doing so they
must incur additional costs as the extra fuel load increases the overall weight of each
plane, in turn burning more fuel just to carry the extra contingency supply. This puts
further cost pressures on airlines at a time when they are already struggling with a more
than 100 percent rise in the price of jet fuel, higher finance charges and interest rates as
well as increased labour and other costs.
Local airlines also depend heavily on feed traffic to and from long-haul inter-continental carriers, many of which will be unable to tanker fuel over such great distances. Those airlines may have to resort to intermediate en-route refuelling stops, or fly to Johannesburg or Durban to fill up before starting their long north and east-bound return flights. In such instances we urge Government to waive the additional on-route air navigation and airport fees airlines will incur in order to comply with the fuel rations at
Cape Town and continue to provide the inter-continental connectivity that local airlines and the entire region’s economy depends on.