Nantucket Memorial Airport once again ran out of jet fuel Sunday.
The airport started advising carriers of a probable Jet-A shortage early Sunday and by yesterday afternoon it had restricted sales and was keeping a small reserve for emergencies only, including MedFlight operations.
Assistant airport manager Noah Karberg said the airport had been monitoring the situation closely over the weekend, and that a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) had been posted on the Federal Aviation Administration web site to advise carriers and other users of the airport about the situation.
Karberg said jet-A fuel sales for September to date are up 42 percent over 2019 (which corresponds to a sales increase of 63,000 gallons, or a logistical increase of seven tanker deliveries in 17 days). That high demand, coupled with “ongoing and irregular high-demand events”, a national driver shortage, and the logistical challenges associated with transporting fuel to the island on the Steamship Authority have all contributed to the situation.
Nantucket Memorial Airport also ran out of jet-A fuel back at the beginning of August under similar circumstances. In that instance, the airport advised commercial carriers that they needed to fly into the island fully loaded with fuel due to the shortage. The situation caused some travel headaches as planes departing Nantucket were forced to refuel at other locations before heading to their final destination, causing some to miss connecting flights.
The airport’s fuel tank farm holds 100,000 gallons of jet fuel – enough to cover normal traffic for four to five days – but the demand over the summer had drained supplies to the point it was holding essentially a single day’s worth of fuel on most days.