Airlines take extra fuel on New York-bound in case of shortage
Some airlines heading for New York are taking the unusual and costly step of putting extra fuel on planes in fear of a jet fuel shortage.
After Superstorm Sandy disrupted the flow of fuel and electricity throughout Northeast America, airlines such as US Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are loading more fuel on their New York-bound flights.
According to the Associated Press, this ensures they have enough fuel to leave the New York region.
Todd Lehmacher, a spokesman for US Airways Group Inc. said operations at the region's three main airports are 'still very much in flux'.
However, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports, said that there is 'an adequate supply' of fuel.
'We have, and are receiving, fuel,' said authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco. 'We're in good shape.'
Airlines said they are adding extra fuel to avoid further cancellations after New York's airports were closed for several days following Sandy, where more than 20,000 flights across Northeast America were cancelled.
Victoria Day, spokeswoman for Airlines for America, the industry's U.S. trade group, said the actions are to 'minimize the likelihood that there will be any fuel-related customer disruptions.'
But bringing extra fuel on planes is not ideal as it is the single largest operating expense for airlines. For every few gallons of extra fuel, a plane must carry one additional gallon just to fly with the added weight.
Typically, airlines try to put just enough fuel on the plane to reach a destination, plus a 45-minute emergency reserve.
But spending more on fuel is preferable to cancelling flights. Delta Air Lines alone said Sandy cost it $20 million in profit in October because of cancellations.
JetBlue Airways Corp., Virgin America and Spirit Airlines Inc. said they did not see a need to add fuel right now.
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