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Fuel Shortage Hits Major US Airport - Officials Warn of Travel Disruptions

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Ripple effects of a fuel shortage at Orlando’s airport will be felt for the next few days by travelers flying into or out of the Florida destination.

The Federal Aviation Administration has alerted airlines that Orlando International Airport is running low on fuel, according to USA Today.

The FAA said supply issues are likely to continue through about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Due to the shortage, the FAA is advising airlines that any plane flying into Orlando ought to have enough fuel on board to depart as well.

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“Weather issues along the Gulf Coast had prevented reserve supply delivery of jet fuel at MCO. The weather has lifted and ships have departed. If flight disruptions occur, airline contingency plans are currently in place. Thank you for your patience,” the airport wrote in a Sunday tweet.

A statement from the airport said it is not running out of fuel, it just does not have very much, according to Airways.

“The Orlando International Airport (MCO) is not out of fuel, and fuel is being delivered after extended weather issues along the Gulf Coast impacted fuel reserve delivery. The weather has lifted and ships have been able to depart,” the statement said.

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“The Orlando International Airport Consortium, which oversees and manages the aviation fuel for the airport, is requesting all airlines to please have additional fuel on flights coming to Orlando through the weekend,” the statement said.

“To supplement the shortfall, fuel is being trucked to the airport. The fuel supply is being monitored and airline contingency plans are in place to lessen any impact on operations,” the statement said.

One of the contingency plans is tankering. According to the website Simple Flying, “tankering fuel means having to stop at Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville, or Miami for refueling.”

But this is not just a quick dash in and out, the site noted.

“This will lengthen the flights and perhaps require a change of aircrew due to flight crew flying at the limit of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Under Part 121 is section 471, which places hard caps on flight time for all U.S. ‘commercial flying’ of eight hours between required rest periods and at least ‘9 consecutive hours of rest’ up to 11 if the pilot has flown nine or more hours,” the site said.

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So how does that impact travelers? Planes flying into or out of Orlando will be making some unscheduled additional stops along the way to gas up. That has the potential to complicate life for travelers because stops for fuel will add time to flights, meaning travelers with connections may need to double-check with their airline to see if changes to a booked flight have been made.

United Airlines said it is adding stops, according to USA Today.

“Because of a shortage of fuel in Orlando that is impacting multiple airlines, we will add planned fuel stops on Sunday and Monday for some flights from Orlando. At this time we expect to operate our full schedule to get our customers to their destinations as planned,” a representative for the airline said.

Delta Airlines is giving passengers an option.

“Flights can be rescheduled to Friday or earlier in the week without penalty,” it advised travelers, according to Simple Flying.

Travelers far away on the West coast are impacted, noted Alaska Airlines in a statement to Simple Flying.

“Poor weather in the Gulf Coast last week delayed fuel supply shipments to Orlando International Airport. We’re carefully monitoring fuel supply and have contingency plans in place should we need to add planned fuel stops for flights returning to the West Coast. Alaska Airlines serves Orlando with six daily flights from San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle,” the airline’s statement said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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