Melbourne - A fuel shortage at Melbourne Airport could cause chaos for passengers, authorities have warned.
Less than 2 million litres of fuel is reportedly available at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, the second busiest in Australia, after a shipment of fuel failed quality controls upon arrival.
An Airbus A380 can require up to 300 000 litres of fuel for a single long-haul flight. The shortage is believed to be more sever than two fuel shortages in 2015, possibly delaying dozens of flights out of the airport and forcing international flights departing from Melbourne to stop at another airport to take on more fuel.
Only four fuel refineries operate in Australia, two of which are in Victoria, with extra imports from Asia to meet demand.
Barry Abrams, executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, said the fuel shortage was particularly troubling for international airlines and would begin to cause problems as early as Friday afternoon.
“International airlines were last night advised that due to shortages in the supply of jet fuel to the airport, the National Operating Committee on Jet Fuel Supply Assurance changed the fuel supply status in Melbourne to a 'black traffic light' and immediate and deep fuel rationing,” Abrams told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Domestic flights travelling to Melbourne will be required to take on more fuel than required before departing to prevent fuel supplies at Melbourne Airport from being exhausted.
A spokesperson for Melbourne Airport said the airport was working closely with airlines to manage the shortage. “Melbourne Airport understands that airlines are managing potential impacts and that there has been limited impact on airline schedules at this stage,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Melbourne Airport recommends travellers contact their airline for the most up-to-date information about flights today.”
A spokesperson for Qantas said the fuel shortage would not impact domestic flights and flights to China's Hong Kong and Singapore would stop in Sydney to re-fuel.