22 Mar 2005

Oil company diverts fuel ship to get PNG flights back in the air

1:22 pm on 22 March 2005

The oil company, Shell, says a shipment of thousands of tonnes of aviation fuel has just docked in the Papua New Guinea capital, which will help domestic flights get off the ground.

Thousands of travellers across PNG are stranded after the Air Niugini cancelled internal flights yesterday.

Jackson International airport in Port Moresby has stopped fuelling jets because Shell needed to test fuel for impurities.

The general manager, Peter Walsh, says the tested fuel won't be available until tomorrow.

"This will solve the problem in the short to medium term at Jackson's which is Port Moresby's main airfield. There are still issues with regard to supply to Lae, Madang and other locations, as they are reliant on logistic supply from the refinery."

Mr Walsh says the 2-thousand tonnes of aviation fuel will only supply aircraft in Port Moresby for up to 20 days.

The managing director of Mobil Oil, John Acraman says the company's supply is also dependent on the clearance of a recent shipment.