Fuel shortage in aviation sector looming large?

Kathmandu, April 18:

Even as a Gulf Air source today said shortage of aviation fuel may force airlines to halt their operations temporarily due to the ongoing political situation, the Nepal Oil Corporation dismissed such “speculations” claiming the corporation had ample stock of aviation fuel.

“The aviation sector may have to deal with aircraft turbine fuel (ATF) shortage soon if the NOC fails to continue fuel supply to airlines,” the source told this daily. “We have heard that the NOC is facing the crunch, but we are yet to receive any official notice concerning the matter.”

If such a situation were to arise, Gulf Air, which consumes around 20 tonnes of fuel per flight in its operations here, may have to temporarily halt its services here.

Mohan Khanal, managing director of the Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation, however, said the aviation sector need not worry about the fuel shortage for a week but the industry is likely to face the crunch if the ongoing situation persists. “Let’s hope that the ongoing problem will be resolved soon,” he said, adding that the fuel shortage will hit airlines with small aircraft like the RNAC.

The bigger aircraft, flying in the international sector, have considerably large fuel storage capacity. Since they can always refill outside the country and continue their operations here, the scarcity won’t affect them, Khanal added.

However, an NOC official, requesting anonymity, said there in no shortage of aviation fuel.

“We have ample stock of ATF. We have been informed that the fuel along with other commodities are being escorted by the security forces to Kathmandu from Bharatpur,” he said.

The official, however, declined to reveal the quantity of NOC’s ATF stock.