St Maarteen seeks an end to aviation fuel shortage
The Princess Juliana International Airport said it will move its fuel farm to an offsite location to boost storage capacity.
SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten, Monday January 9, 2012 – A shortage of aviation fuel here is likely to end month-end. At the same time, authorities have announced long-term plans to prevent this situation from recurring.
Sol, the lone dispenser of fuel at the Princess Juliana International Airport, said special consideration has been given to “feeder locations” like St. Maarten, to ensure the supply does not run out.
The company said it is also considering switching from Jet A1 to Jet A specification fuel to reduce reliance on its main supplier Petrotrin of Trinidad and Tobago that has been affected by industrial action.
The PJIA said it will move its fuel farm to an offsite location to boost storage capacity and free up ramp space during the second quarter of this year.
The airport authority explained, in a media release, it will also put in place a Service Level Agreement that includes performance standards for all of its suppliers, including those that provide aviation fuel.
“Similarly, Sol has filed the required documents with the respective government authorities to enable it to commence construction of an additional storage tank that would double its storage capacity to a combined 25,000 barrels,’ the airport stated.
“Storage is indeed a major factor in the current fuel shortage. Once approval is received, the construction of the new tank is expected to take some six months. This means, before this year ends, the situation at PJIA with regards to aviation fuel would have improved dramatically.”
Airport representatives met last Thursday with officials of SOL and Chevron – its other fuel supplier, and additional stakeholders to discuss the situation that led to fuel rationing.
Sol has already relaxed the restrictions on Commercial Aviation, but said the rationing for General Aviation may continue a little longer.
PJIA Managing Director, Regina LaBega said, “The situation is really unfortunate, but it has our undivided attention.”
“We are working with our stakeholders, to share strategies that would enable us to spot potential problems in time so that we can respond in an effective, dynamic and informed manner,” LaBega added.