Sunday, August 01, 2021

Nantucket Memorial Airport (KACK) runs out of jet fuel

Nantucket Memorial Airport has run out of jet fuel at the peak of summer, impacting private flights at one of New England’s busiest transportation hubs.

On Saturday, the airport suspended jet fuel sales, and informed commercial carriers that they needed to fly into the island fully loaded with fuel due to the shortage.

Airport officials said Saturday night that they were facing overwhelming demand for jet fuel, along with a logistical nightmare in getting fuel tanker trucks to the island due to record competition for reservations this summer on the Steamship Authority ferries. They also cited a national truck driver shortage as playing a role in the unprecedented situation. 

On Saturday, the airport reserved jet fuel for its scheduled air carriers – including JetBlue, Delta, United and American – in order to ensure those flights and thousands of passengers reached their destinations. Around 1 p.m., the airport stopped selling fuel to the hundreds of private aircraft that come and go from the island on any given summer day.

But on Sunday, it will be “no jet fuel for anyone,” Assistant Airport Manager Noah Karberg said. “We’ve been monitoring this event since Wednesday or Thursday. We’ve put all our air carriers on notice that they had to come in full (of fuel) or schedule an appropriate fuel stop.”

More fuel is expected to arrive on Nantucket via tanker truck by early Monday morning with the arrival of the early Steamship Authority ferry.

The airport will be holding roughly 3,000 gallons of jet fuel in reserve for Boston Medflight helicopters should they need it, as well as for search and rescue operations. 

Jet fuel sales are up 60 percent at the airport compared to 2019, and by the end of July it had pumped over 1 million gallons of Jet-A fuel, a record. 

The competition for ferry reservations is another factor, as one cancellation at the beginning of the month threw the airport’s entire fuel delivery schedule into chaos, with ripple effects that were still being felt by the end of July as it tried to play catch-up. 

Nantucket Memorial Airport’s fuel farm holds 100,000 gallons of jet fuel – enough to cover normal traffic for four to five days –  but the demand this summer has drained supplies to the point it was holding essentially a single days worth of fuel on most days in July. 

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