Anchorage caught short of fuel

AIRFREIGHT’S sudden recovery has caught Anchorage Airport by surprise, resulting in a shortage of fuel for freighters.
In the financial year 2007/8, the airport handled 3.1 million tons of cargo, but that fell to 2.9 million in 2008/9 and then fell again last year. Now, levels have risen nearly to 2008/9 levels.
Declining demand led Delta to cancel freighter operation of its subsidiary, Northwest Airlines, early last year.
This in turn led to refineries, such as Flint Hills, shutting down local production plants.
Now demand is back up and freighters, hungry from their trans-Pacific flights, are landing to refuel.
“The global recession, the lack of purchasing in the Lower 48 (those US states below Canada and above Mexico) decreased the manufacturing in China and decreased the amount of goods that needed to be shipped,” said airport manager, John Parrott.
“Now that the economy appears to be recovering, people are buying things and they’re being shipped through here,” Parrott said.
Flint Hills says it is working to bring the jet fuel unit back into operation, but that won’t happen until the end of June.
Meanwhile, some freighters are simply carrying the extra fuel they need to continue on their way.
“They’re working their way through it. It is a concern. We’re working with both state agencies, fuel producers and fuel users to try to resolve it,” Parrott said.

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