AASA begs govt to waive airport fees as jet fuel rations at Cape Town squeezes airlines

28th September 2022 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

AASA begs govt to waive airport fees as jet fuel rations at Cape Town squeezes airlines

Cape Town International Airport

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has raised concern about the imposition of jet fuel rations at the Cape Town International Airport.

The association says the restrictions will likely result in disruptions to airline schedules and possibly lead to cancelled flights, at a time when the industry and the economy can ill afford it.

While the AASA appreciates the efforts being made by Airports Company South Africa to manage fuel stocks at the airport, the escalation of jet fuel rations throws into sharp focus South Africa’s vulnerability, owing to its reliance on imported jet fuel, the association states.

The association has called on government and fuel suppliers to move with urgency to put in place a more robust resilience plan to ensure sufficient stocks of aviation fuel.

Although local and regional short-haul airlines are able to carry more fuel than optimally required for a single flight, this is a more costly option as the extra fuel load increases the overall weight of each plane, burning more fuel to carry the extra supply.

Local airlines that depend heavily on feed traffic to and from long-haul inter-continental carriers, however, are not able to tanker fuel over great distances.

Those airlines may have to resort to intermediate en route refuelling stops, or fly to Johannesburg or Durban to fill up before starting their long north- and east-bound return flights.

In such instances, the AASA  says government ought to waive the additional air navigation and airport fees that airlines will incur.

Airlines are already struggling to afford a more than 100% rise in the price of jet fuel, higher finance charges and higher interest rates, as well increased labour and other input costs.