22 Mar 2005

Oil company says diverted fuel ship now docked in bid to get PNG flights back in the air

3:24 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 domestic jets as Shell needs to test fuel for impurities.

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

"Those samples will be sent to Australia for testing. The results of those tests would be expected to be available sometime on Wednesday, and that product will then be released into the Jackson's airfield, for use at Port Moresby's main airfield."

Mr Walsh says the 2,000 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 recent shipment.