Austin Airport Relies on 100+ Daily Tanker Trips for Fuel. Will a Dedicated Pipeline Fix it?
10.18.2023 By Tank Terminals - NEWS
October 18, 2023 [Austin American Statesman]- Flint Hills Resources said Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the largest airport in the country without a dedicated pipeline for transportation fuel.
The primary supplier of jet fuel for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport announced Tuesday its plans to build a dedicated pipeline between the company’s fuel terminal in neighboring Bastrop County and the airport. The company says the new infrastructure would eliminate the truck-reliant fuel delivery system currently in use.
Flint Hills Resources provides all the fuel for the city-run airport’s jet fuel facility near the west runway, which is used by all commercial and cargo operations. Given the considerable growth at the airport in recent years, especially post-pandemic, the company said the 8,000-gallon tanker trucks make more than 100 round trips between the airport and its Bastrop terminal per day to keep up with demand.
That system creates a bottleneck for the airport. The alerts resulted in a consortium of airlines, operating under the name AUS Fuels, advising airlines to fill up with more fuel than usual from their departing airport — a process that can create delays and has weight-balancing implications for aircraft flying to Austin.
AUS Fuels contracts with the drivers to deliver the fuel, said Andy Saenz, a Flint Hills Resources spokesperson.
So far this year, the airport has had 16 fuel shortage alerts, according to airport spokesperson Sam Haynes.
In a news release, Flint Hills Resources said the current “just-in-time, truck-dependent” fuel delivery system has had reliability issues. Though it recently expanded its three-tank Bastrop facility, the Koch Industries-owned company said increasing demand at the airport, traffic congestion and driver availability issues “continue to push the current airport delivery system beyond its design capacity.”