Airlines take extra fuel on New York-bound in case of shortage

Airlines take extra fuel to New York in case of shortagePA

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.

Superstorm Sandy hits New York City
See Gallery
Airlines take extra fuel on New York-bound in case of shortage
The facade of an apartment building collapsed in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The storm, which threatens 50 million people in the eastern third of the US, is expected to bring days of rain, high winds and possibly heavy snow.

Sandy has caused travel disruption: airlines at at Heathrow Airport have had to cancel flights to the US, leaving travellers stranded.

The Hudson River swells and rises over the banks of the Hoboken, New Jersey, as Hurricane Sandy approaches.

First Avenue, near East 23rd Street, New York. Power has been cut for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and an estimated 6.2 million across the East.

Sandy arrives at Brooklyn.

Cars are submerged near the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Superstorm Sandy zeroed in on New York's waterfront with fierce rain and winds that shuttered most of the nation's largest city.

Waves crash over the bow of a tug boat as it passes near the Statue of Liberty.

Staten Island, New York.

Winds from Hurricane Sandy reach Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Water from Long Island Sound spilled into roadways and towns along the Connecticut shoreline as the storm delivered a devastating surge of seawater.

Streets are flooded under the Manhattan Bridge in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn.

Manhattan loses power.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive.

Lower Manhattan goes dark,  Monday, October 29, 2012, viewed from the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Wind-blown mist from the Hudson River along with driving rain in West New York, New Jersey, with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

Rising water rushes into a subterranian parking garage oin the Financial District of New York.

Sign up to our weekly newsletter | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook
Read Full Story