Reports from the Kenyan coast have confirmed that Malindi airport suffered a severe jet fuel shortage last week, when Shell failed to deliver sufficient supplies of JetA1 and AVGAS to the airport. This left air operators to carry the burden of flying their aircraft via Mombasa’s international airport for refueling, adding a hefty extra cost to their operations.
Other sources blamed the shortage on the Kenya Revenue Authority over their often complained about bureaucrazy (pun intended), which prevented Shell from getting enough fuel released from their main tanks to send to Malindi. The situation in Malindi messed up the departure times of scheduled airlines but also affected charters, as extra time was needed to fly their aircraft via Mombasa.
One source from the aviation fraternity in Mombasa also pointed to the heavy air traffic over the festive season, when the coast was fully booked and many travelers, in particular those to Malindi and Watamu, had opted to fly rather than drive to the coast, almost doubling the usual number of aircraft movements to Malindi airport over the holiday period. This, the source added, may have contributed to the extra demand for fuel, but still laid the blame on the doorsteps of the tax collectors, who he said “have no clue how aviation business works and what it takes to get planes into the air.”