Airports in West Deal With Shortage of Jet Fuel
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A shortage of jet fuel, coupled with supply chain issues and an urgent demand from firefighting aircraft, continues to cause problems at airports around the West.
In Nevada, state and federal lawmakers said they are investigating a possible shortage of jet fuel that could delay cargo delivery and passenger travel at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the coming days.
A spike in demand for jet fuel by commercial airlines and from firefighting aircraft in Montana and the Pacific Northwest led to departure problems and daylong flight delays recently at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
In California, recent flights in and out of Fresno Yosemite International Airport were disrupted by jet fuel shortages blamed on the lack of tanker truck driver deliveries.
Lawmakers said the Reno-Tahoe airport serving Nevada’s second-largest metro area faces a shortage of jet fuel that could force the cancellation of cargo and passenger flights, potentially restricting the flow of tourists and essential goods into the northern part of the state.
Besides serving Reno, a popular gambling destination, the airport is the nearest passenger terminal to Lake Tahoe.
Nevada’s political leaders issued a statement late July 24 pledging to minimize disruption at the airport and ensure the aerial fight against Western wildfires isn’t hampered.
“To be clear, further failure to secure adequate fuel supplies is unacceptable,” wrote Gov. Steve Sisolak, U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.).
The Reno airport’s shortage is caused by a confluence of factors, including a scarcity of tanker truck drivers, Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority spokeswoman Stacey Sunday said.
“There’s just nobody available to drive the trucks of fuel in here,” and it’s hard to predict how long the shortage will last, Sunday said.
Reno-Tahoe’s longest runway also is under construction, limiting how much extra fuel airlines can load onto inbound flights because heavier loads require longer stopping distances.
Today I signed Executive Order 2021-10 waiving regulations related to transportation of petroleum products due to an unexpected fuel supply shortage in western South Dakota. Read more here: https://t.co/yntmIhbv0e — Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) July 17, 2021
Elsewhere, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon is allowing truck drivers to work longer hours while they deliver fuel that might be needed for firefighting aircraft elsewhere.
So far this summer, Wyoming hasn’t had significant fuel shortages or major wildfires.
Other Western governors including South Dakota’s Kristi Noem have signed similar orders, although Gordon’s still prohibits truck drivers from driving when tired.
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