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World American Airlines urges pilots to conserve jet fuel

05:21  27 july  2021
05:21  27 july  2021 Source:   afp.com

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American Airlines is asking pilots to conserve fuel as the US sees a surge in summer travel. The airline has taken steps that could lead to more stops and fewer seats on flights. The airline is citing a nationwide supply crunch stemming from shortages of fuel , as well as trucks and drivers to transport it. The airline may add stops to certain flight routes because of the fuel delays and is tankering fuel , which can limit overall flight capacity. American says at this time the effects of the shortage have been minimal.

"Every gallon of jet fuel saved is helpful." Factors behind the supply crunch include shortages of the fuel itself as well as trucks to transport it and drivers, Dudley said. "These challenges are not only impacting airports and airlines but also the efforts to fight the large forest fires on the West Coast Besides working to conserve fuel , Dudley urged pilots to contact American Airlines dispatchers early "if it is necessary to land enroute" and noted that taking on extra fuel "will lead to a heavier aircraft when landing." A memo from APA to union members restated many of the same points, adding

American Airlines on Monday urged its pilots to do everything possible to save fuel, warning that a supply crunch in the United States is challenging company operations.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: American Airlines told pilots to conserve fuel in light of a supply crunch © CHANDAN KHANNA American Airlines told pilots to conserve fuel in light of a supply crunch

"Use all available fuel savings strategies when possible," Managing Director of Flight Operations John Dudley said in a memo to pilots. "Every gallon of jet fuel saved is helpful."

Airline industry officials said the problem stemmed from lower pipeline supplies of jet fuel, which ceded pipeline capacity to gasoline, diesel and other fuels during the pandemic when airline travel slowed to trickle.

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American Airlines on Monday reportedly warned pilots of fuel delivery delays at midsize airports across the country and asked pilots to conserve gas when possible. “ American Airlines station jet fuel delivery delays initially affected mostly western U.S. cities, but are now being reported at American stations across the American Airlines reportedly warned pilots of nationwide fuel delivery delays. AP Photo/Steven Senne. “As our country continues to face multiple challenges, let’s work together as a team to operate reliably, safely and as efficiently as possible,” read the memo reviewed by CNBC.

American Airlines is adding stops on two long-range flights out of Charlotte, North Carolina, in response to fuel supply chain disruptions caused by the shutdown of the massive Colonial Pipeline.

Other factors behind the supply crunch include shortages of trucks and drivers to transport fuel, Dudley said.

"These challenges are not only impacting airports and airlines but also the efforts to fight the large forest fires on the West Coast," the memo said.

The fuel crunch is the latest problem facing US carriers, which are experiencing a vaccine-fueled surge in travel demand after the anemic travel consumption during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

An American spokesman referred questions to airline trade group, Airlines for America, saying the issue was not specific to the carrier.

The trade group said the fuel crunch primarily affects smaller airports in the western United States.

"Carriers are taking proactive measures such as having aircraft take on extra fuel at non-impacted origin airports in order to supplement the fuel supply at impacted destination airports," Airlines for America said.

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American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. are carrying extra jet fuel on some flights and considering adding stops to other routes to pick up fuel as snarls in U.S. trucking and supply chains delay deliveries to small and mid-sized airports across the country. The delays are expected to continue through mid-August, American told its pilots in a memo Monday. Aviators were told to use all conservation measures when possible and cautioned that carrying added fuel will result in heavier aircraft when landing.

It asked pilots to conserve fuel by, for example, leaving one engine off while taxiing. American said fuel supplies are being squeezed at “several” airports, which it didn’t name, mostly because of a shortage of tanker trucks or drivers. Trade group Airlines for America said it is talking to federal authorities and pipeline operators about the situation, which it said mostly affects smaller airports in the West. The jet fuel supply is begin taxed by a strong recovery in travel, which means more planes in the air . U.S. air travel has reached about 80% of its pre-pandemic levels, with about 2 million people a


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The warning follows a statement Saturday from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and three members of the Nevada congressional delegation reporting that they had been warned of "potential jet fuel shortages" at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

"Our immediate focus is on ensuring resources to combat western wildfires are not impacted and that there is as little disruption as possible for Nevadans and visitors," said the statement from Nevada officials.

Delta said there has been "no operational impact" on customers in Reno, but that "the larger issue" was the loss of capacity at pipelines due to the pandemic, as it called on US authorities to work with pipelines and airlines "to work together to allow space on the pipelines to ship the needed jet fuel to the airports."

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An increase of one cent in jet fuel prices can cost an airline company close to million annually, so smart ones are vigilant about innovative conservation measures. A hallmark of any transportation company's forward-thinking operational strategy is its ability to squeeze out as much fossil fuel consumption as possible through conservation measures and new technologies. So that was the metric I sought first in the latest American Airlines corporate responsibility report, released in early June.

American Airlines Group Inc. is struggling to recoup surging fuel costs, setting the world’s largest carrier apart from competitors that have raised ticket prices and fees to boost profit. An additional 0 million in fuel costs pulled American ’s profit down 48% in the third quarter, the carrier based in Fort Worth, Texas, said Thursday. Hurricanes that battered the Southern U.S. also hurt American ’s business. Other airlines , by contrast, have stayed ahead of the rising fuel costs. Some are earning more from high-paying business travelers, while most carriers have raised baggage or change fees.

- Shortages 'across the country' -

The fuel shortages were found initially in the western United States, but "are now being reported at American stations across the country," Dudley said, adding that fuel delivery delays were expected through mid-August.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association (APA), said he expects planes to fly with more fuel than is needed to complete their journey when they travel from cities where fuel is more abundant into cities where supplies are tight.

Pilots need to be mindful of the added weight from extra fuel, Tajer told AFP, adding that "safety is the most important thing."

Besides working to conserve fuel, Dudley urged pilots to contact American Airlines dispatchers early "if it is necessary to land enroute" and noted that taking on extra fuel "will lead to a heavier aircraft when landing."

Among other carriers, Southwest Airlines said it has not experienced operational problems, but continues to monitor the situation "to minimize any potential disruption."

United did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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