In western US airports, the need for enough jet fuel is not met due to the increase in demand for leisure travel. The Flights are completely sold but flight tanks aren’t filled. The fuel shortage results in the cancellation of some Flights or forces airlines to make extra stops to fuel up on longer routes.
Part of the problem is the shortage of tank truck drivers needed to deliver fuel. According to an industry trade group, Nearly 20% of tankers nationwide are parked due to a lack of qualified drivers. That shortage has already been affecting gas stations.But airlines and airports are also struggling to get the fuel they need because pipelines shifted away from carrying jet fuel when air travel ground to a near halt last year. Now, jet fuel isn’t getting the pipeline space it needs to keep up with the recent surge in air travel.
Delta Air Lines made a statement that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the pipelines, and the airlines need to work together to allow space on the pipelines to ship the needed jet fuel to the airports. This problem is most pronounced in a series of western airports that are popular vacation destinations, including some in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
Airlines for America, an airline industry trade group known as A4A, said Flights in and out of Montana are up 25% above pre-pandemic levels. It increased the fuel shortage for airlines due to the supply in that region being redirected to fuel planes fighting wildfires. The number of daily Flights is lower than before the pandemic because business travel and international travel remains at a fraction of what it used to be.According to recent earnings reports from the airlines, leisure travel has matched or exceeded pre-pandemic levels on many routes. So airports that serve mostly domestic vacationers such as those in western states are busier than they used to be.