Western Aviation Fuel Shortage Spreading


A sporadic aviation fuel shortage that began a few weeks ago in the Pacific Northwest is now spreading nationwide according to the Dallas Morning News. Now airlines are warning their pilots they may not be able to fuel up at their destinations and to make contingency plans, according to an American Airlines memo obtained by MSNBC and quoted by the newspaper. “All airlines are continuing to experience jet fuel delivery delays at several midsize to smaller airports due primarily to constrained jet fuel transportation logistics, including a shortage of truck drivers, a shortage of fuel trucks and in some select cases, pipeline allocations,” the memo is reported to have said.

So far, there hasn’t been much disruption but the memo says American may start asking pilots to carry extra fuel or make unscheduled fuel stops to keep the system moving. Meanwhile, Reno-Tahoe International Airport warned passengers to check with their airlines before heading to the airport to make sure their flight will take off. The affected airports are mostly small- to medium-sized facilities that rely on fuel being trucked in. The delivery chain is being stretched by a shortage of drivers and a boom in demand fueled by the easing of pandemic restrictions.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. A shortage of trucks? I can understand people being let go during the pandemic, and needing to hire fresh drivers, but where did the trucks go?

    • I would think the “trucks” refer to the tractor rigs, not tanker being pulled. If the drivers are independents, then they are in high demand and can run other loads, etc.

  2. Oil is plentiful, refineries are in good shape, sideline flights are way down from 2 years ago.

    Not sure if this is a real story from those 2 questionable sources or a made up shortage to raise prices. Hard to tell these days…

    • I just ordered fuel from Meeker, CO. The price was about $7.50/gal, $2 more per gal than ForeFlight had listed. When asked, the operator said the price reflected his very recent delivery, and he had been warned it might be his last.