NAIROBI Kenya, Oct 15 – The Moi International Airport in Mombasa has been hit by a shortage of jet fuel. The shortage, which started on Monday, has forced at least four airlines to be diverted to other airports in the region for refueling.
The Airport Manager Yatich Kangugo says the shortage has been occasioned by wrangles between the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited and oil marketers.
“We are appealing to Kenya Petroleum Company and oil marketers to resolve the matter immediately to avoid a major crisis and also to reduce the cost,” Kangugo said while addressing journalists at the airport.
He said the four oil marketers contracted to supply Jet A1 fuel to the airport have been unable to access the fuel at the refinery.
The four include Kenol Kobil, Oil Libya, Total Kenya and Vivo Energy (formerly Shell Kenya).
Among affected airlines was Edelweiss Air, a Swiss charter airline, which was forced to take less fuel at the airport and had to pass through Egypt for more fuel on its way to Zurich,Switzerland.
A US military plane C130 was also diverted to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for refueling.
In a bid to solve the issue, the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited (KPRL) management was on Tuesday locked in crisis meeting as the standoff threatened to cripple fuel supply in the airport.
The oil marketers want the government to address their concerns which include inefficiency within the refinery which as a result pushes up pump price.
However, KPRL Chief Executive Officer Brij Bansal has accused them of reneging on an agreement signed last year (2012) on the issue.
He says the oil marketing companies have not been purchasing the KPRL products despite a legally binding agreement being in place.
As a short-term measure to contain the situation, Kenya Pipeline has received 700,000 litres of jet fuel to help normalise the situation which the airport manager says would last for three days only.
The average consumption of jet fuel in the airport is between 210,000 liters and 300, 000 liters per day.