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American Airlines warns jet fuel shortages to continue through mid-August, asks pilots to save

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
American Airlines planes taxi at Miami International Airport in Miami. American Airlines on July 26, 2021 urged its pilots to do everything possible to save fuel, warning that a supply crunch in the United States is challenging company operations. (Via AFP)

American Airlines has warned about jet fuel shortages around the US, asking pilots to save fuel as fuel delivery delays continue amid a surge in summer travel.

The carrier said airlines, including American, have experienced the delays due to a lack of truck drivers, trucks and fuel supply.

“American Airlines station jet fuel delivery delays initially affected mostly western US cities, but are now being reported at American stations across the country. Delivery delays are expected to continue through mid-August,” John Dudley, managing director of flight operations said.

"Delivery delays are expected to continue through mid-August," he added.

Media reports said airports in the western United States are running low on jet fuel stocks because of the demand from emergency aircraft deployed to fight forest fires in the region.

More than 20,000 firefighters were fighting extreme wildfires across the western US regions over the weekend, as homes burned and thousands of residents fled fast-spreading flames.

“As our country continues to face multiple challenges, let’s work together as a team to operate reliably, safely and as efficiently as possible,” Dudley wrote in a memo. He asked that pilots to use fuel saving strategies such as taxiing with a single engine.

Airlines for America, which represents most large US carriers said, “We have been and continue to be in communication with federal authorities and pipeline operators to address this jet fuel capacity issue.” 

The fuel supply shortage has sprung up during a surge in domestic leisure travel demand, which US airlines say is near or above 2019 levels.

Demand for US travel has risen sharply this summer as many international destinations require negative COVID-19 test results or proof of vaccination for entry.

American sir travelers have also faced hourslong hold times for airline customer service and long lines at airports due to staffing shortages.

US travel demand has rebounded faster than many airline executives expected and carriers are scrambling to hire and train workers as US airlines had urged employees to take leaves of absence to reduce labor costs during the pandemic last year.

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