The west coast of the United States is experiencing a jet fuel shortage and airlines are beginning to warn passengers, crews, and the communities they serve.
American Airlines issued a company memo to pilots on Monday asking them to conserve gas where possible, including the easiest way, only taxiing with one engine and ensuring the aircraft is connected to ground air and power when parked at the gate.
In the memo, American said the fuel shortages are occurring in smaller and mid-sized airports and the low levels were first noticed on the west coast where supply has been redirected to fight wildfires or the fires have impeded the delivery of fuel to airports.
American added that the airline is considering adding refueling stops for longer flights out of these smaller and mid-sized airports, increasing flight time, or they may fly fuel into locations where the supply is low.
Southwest Airlines said the airline hasn’t experienced any major delays due to the shortage, yet, but that they are operating flights with extra fuel onboard in the event the aircraft finds itself at a location with a short supply.
Delta Air Lines has weighed in stating that Reno, Nevada, is the most affected airport it serves. A Delta spokesperson said they believe the reason behind the shortage has to do with the pipelines to airports. Delta says the pipelines have been carrying more gasoline and diesel and less jet fuel during the pandemic.
Airlines for America, a trade and lobbyist group for the nation’s largest airlines, said it is talking to federal authorities and pipeline operators about the situation.