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Seven million litres of fuel ‘unusable’

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Johannesburg - The fuel pipeline to OR Tambo International Airport has been contaminated and rendered unfit for use by airlines, the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), said on Thursday.

“The impact of the contamination on the fuel pipeline is such that approximately seven million litres of fuel, which is currently in storage, is unusable, reducing OR Tambo International Airport's stock levels from four days to 1.6 days,” Acsa spokesperson Solomon Makgale said in a statement.

He said Acsa had been advised by the Fuel Consortium that the fuel line between the National Petroleum Refiners of South Africa (Natref) refinery in Sasolburg and the airport had been contaminated with “off-specification Jet A-1”.

The airport normally receives about three million litres of fuel a day through the dedicated pipeline from Natref, said Makgale.

“Acsa, together with its airline stakeholders, is engaging the fuel suppliers on what measures can be taken to maintain the supply of jet fuel at OR Tambo International Airport,” he said.

“An announcement in this regard will be made tomorrow morning.”

Makgale said an airport management team was working with domestic and international airlines on various measures, including the uptake of fuel at Acsa's other network of airports.

“These are aimed at minimising the impact on airlines, passengers and overall airport operations.

“At this point in time, the airport is operating normally and the same is expected tomorrow.

“We remain hopeful that the fuel suppliers will find a solution as a matter of urgency. Acsa will provide all the necessary support,” he said. - Sapa

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