Sunday, July 10, 2022

ATF crisis in Sri Lanka turns opportunity for South India airports

The ongoing turmoil and fuel shortage in Sri Lanka have boosted aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sales in South Indian airports like Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin and Chennai.

Several flights of Sri Lankan Airlines, Air Arabia, Jazeera Airways, Gulf Air, and Air AirAsia Malaysia are halting at Indian airports for ATF since May. This is giving additional revenue to oil marketing companies (OMCs), airport operators and respective state governments.

With the crisis intensifying in the island nation, more players have informed OMCs that they will start landing in Indian airports. Etihad Airways plans to start landing in Cochin from July 15.

According to a source from Bharat Petroleum Corporation, SriLankan Airlines itself operated 110 additional flights and lifted 9,300 kilo litres (kl) of additional jet fuel from Indian airports.

The number of flights diverting to India for refuelling has increased from June 29 after the Lankan authorities informed airlines that no ATF will be available.

In addition, flights from other countries are also opting for technical landing and refuelling from South Indian’s airports.

Sources said Air Arabia and Gulf Air have started technical landing at Thiruvananthapuram and are operating one flight a day, lifting up to 30-40 kl of ATF a day.

According to media reports, technical landing for refuelling is expected to bring additional revenue of around Rs 1 lakh per flight for the airport operators. The state governments also get revenue from taxes on ATF. Mainly aircraft from West Asia and those en-route to Europe are depending on Indian airports for refuelling.

The Adani group-run Thiruvananthapuram airport has been serving as a refuelling hub for Sri Lankan and West Asian Airlines since May-end. Until now, the airport handled 90 flights, which included 55 flights of SriLankan Airlines bound for Sydney, Melbourne, and Paris. In Sri Lanka, ATF was available only for air ambulances and flights making emergency diversions. This restriction would be in place till July 13. Kochi airport handled 28 flights since June 29, including those operated by SriLankan Airlines, Air Arabia, Jaze¬era Airways and Air AirAsia Malaysia.

10/07/22 Shine Jacob & Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

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