American Airlines adds stops, tells pilots to conserve fuel amid shortage

An American Airlines plane takes off at Miami International Airport.
An American Airlines plane takes off at Miami International Airport. Photo credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images
By , Audacy

American Airlines said it might need to add stops to some flights due to fuel shortages at some airports and directed pilots to find ways to conserve fuel.

As the demand for summer travel increases, many airlines face fuel supply shortages and delays. American blamed a lack of truck drivers, which has led to slow delivery at medium and small-sized airports.

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“American Airlines station jet fuel delivery delays initially affected mostly western U.S. cities, but are now being reported at American stations across the country,” said flight operations manager John Dudley in a memo reviewed by CNBC. “Delivery delays are expected to continue through mid-August.”

Dudley asked pilots to engage in fuel-saving tactics such as taxiing with only one engine running. In addition, the airline will load some plans with excess jet fuel to unload at airports with shortages, called tankering.

Although American said flight disruptions were possible, it admitted it had not yet had to cancel any flights because of the shortage and said delays so far had been “minimal.”

“Our team continues to work around the clock to monitor the situation and minimize the impact on our customers,” American said Monday.

Delta Air Lines said it was aware of fuel shortages at some airports. Southwest acknowledged the same but said tankering was an option.

Air travel executives estimate this summer’s demand for travel to be at or above levels seen in 2019 before the pandemic.

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