Scotland’s busiest airports were forced to limit vital fuel supplies to airlines to avoid disruption to flights, it has emerged.
Operators at the country’s two busiest hubs – Edinburgh and Glasgow – stopped receiving deliveries from the Grangemouth Petroineos refinery
Concern was raised over the quality of the jet fuel supplied by the Grangemouth plant.
Fearing it could lead to supply shortages Scottish airport bosses were forced to ration stocks to try to avoid flight cancellations and disruption. A spokesman at Edinburgh Airport confirmed that it had experienced problems in fuel supplies since Tuesday.
He said: “There has been a shortage of aircraft fuel across Scottish airports caused by quality issues at Petroineos’ Grangemouth refinery.
“This has meant we have had to ration our supplies.”
Glasgow Airport said it had maintained its flight schedule by using stocks held on site.
Ineos – which operates the refinery – stressed no flights had been disrupted as a result of the problem.
Initially it was feared that crucial fuel supplies to Scotland’s garage forecourts could also be affected although none have been reported.
But the AA put its breakdown teams on alert while Central Scotland police force did likewise with its traffic division.
In a statement Ineos said: “Petroineos has been supplying jet fuel this week to all airports in Scotland. The company has been working with customers to help them prioritise deliveries as suppliers bring their infrastructure and levels of resilience back to normal.
“To our knowledge no passengers have been affected since deliveries commenced on Monday morning.”
But the problem has sparked concern that there could be a shortage of fuel supplies this winter.
Refinery maintenance and closures in Europe and the US are limiting the availability of oil products, making retailers vulnerable to supply shocks.
Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport and its sale has sparked interest across the globe . The government decided that it had to be sold by its current owners. There are three bidders at the moment – Global Infrastructure Partners, JP Morgan Asset Management, and a consortium of 3i, M&G Infracapital and the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Offers have to be lodged in April, and a buyer is expected to be selected in the early summer. All bidders will be able to carry out due diligence on the airport before lodging their offers. It is believed that a fourth bidder , the Carlyle Group, the US private equity company, have pulled out of the £600 million bid battle for Edinburgh airport. Carlyle’s exit has surprised many in the industry who considered it a strong candidate, given the line-up of partners it pulled together, including the Edinburgh-based investment bank Noble Grossart, run by Sir Angus Grossart. The company was also believed to have attracted interest in joining a consortium from a number of other Scottish business leaders. But it is also understood that Sir Brian Souter, the founder of transport group Stagecoach, did not have talks with Carlyle, despite speculation that he was involved. He has since declared that he is not taking part at this stage. Prestwick Airport is going to be transferred to a new owner as its current New Zealand-based owner have called it an under-performing asset. Infrastructure investment company Infratil said it will also look for a buyer for Manston Airport in Kent. Prestwick, which is budget airline Ryanair’s Scottish base, has a terminal capacity of three million and is situated in Ayrshire, about 45 minutes from Glasgow. Iain Cochrane, chief executive of Glasgow Prestwick airport, said: “At the Infratil Investor Day today in New Zealand, it was announced that Infratil intends to sell both Glasgow Prestwick and Manston airports. “This decision comes from a re-focusing of Infratil’s investment profile and has been under consideration for some time. It’s consistent with Infratil chief executive Marco Bogoievski’s public comments over recent months. “Prestwick is a great airport with a great team and a great future. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for us to attract new investment into the airport to provide the stimulus for future growth. “Today, it’s business as usual as the busy summer season approaches and we’re totally focused on looking after our customers.”
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