Melbourne Airport Jet Fuel Supply Stalls, Inevitably

25 November 2016

The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia’s (BARA) member airlines today expressed their strong concerns at the latest – and now widespread – jet fuel shortages at Melbourne Airport.


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. The fuel rationing is far more severe than that which previously occurred in January and October 2015.

“Regrettably, the current jet fuel shortages are affecting international airline operations at Melbourne Airport. Airlines are doing all they can to minimise the disruption to passengers,” BARA Executive Director, Barry Abrams said.

“BARA’s first priority is that all industry stakeholders, especially the existing jet fuel suppliers, work together to resolve the supply problems. Airlines are doing what they can to minimise the impact of the shortages but the main responsibility lies with the existing jet fuel suppliers,” Mr Abrams said.

“The latest jet fuel shortages are the result of taking no action to deal with known and avoidable supply issues. There’s a lack of urgency in addressing this issue and there has been no orderly investments to increase the capacity of the jet fuel infrastructure supply chain since the previous shortages in 2015, despite growing demand for jet fuel at Melbourne Airport,” Mr Abrams said.

“The systemic problems in jet fuel supply to Melbourne Airport are now showing how they can undermine the growth in Victoria’s aviation and tourism industries. International flights have underpinned strong growth in overseas visitors to Melbourne and the State of Victoria. But they can’t be expected to continue to grow if there’s not enough fuel for the planes to fly. There is a pressing need to reform the entire supply chain, from the refineries and seaport through to the aircraft at the airport,” Mr Abrams said.

To address supply chain constraints and generate more competitive outcomes in jet fuel supply, in December 2014 BARA released a major policy paper – A Competitive Supply of Jet Fuel at Australia’s Major International Airports – which sets out a reform path to greater competition that can also clear bottlenecks in the jet fuel supply chain.

“International airlines have been briefing industry stakeholders for some time to make them aware of Melbourne Airport’s jet fuel supply problems and clearly explaining the necessary reforms,” Mr Abrams said.

“BARA would urge the Australian and Victorian Governments to address the lack of basic jet fuel supply infrastructure to Melbourne Airport. One way forward would be for a comprehensive review conducted by industry experts, an infrastructure plan and fast tracking of necessary regulatory approvals,” Mr Abrams said.