National Crisis looms in aviation sector, ASL flights to be grounded indefinitely


By Kurt Campbell

General Manager of ASL, Annette Arjoon-Martins
General Manager of ASL, Annette Arjoon-Martins

[] – Air Services Limited (ASL) – a domestic airline – is calling for a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to be setup to investigate the monopoly on the supply of fuel at the Ogle International Airport to avert what could possibly be a national crisis.

This call came within four hours of ASL receiving information that its operations may be grounded indefinitely because of an interruption in its fuel supply. Air Services Limited (ASL) was officially informed that its fuel supply at Ogle Airport had been cut off in an email from its fuel supplier, Rubis.

According to Rubis, it discovered that it’s Into-Plane provider (at Ogle Airport) Caribbean Aviation Maintenance Services (CAMS) received jet fuel from another which was comingled with Rubis product.

It is on these grounds that Rubis has taken the decision to suspend its supply at Ogle with immediate effect. This move will in turn impact the operations of ASL since Rubis is the only company that supplies the airline with fuel.

General Manager of ASL, Annette Arjoon-Martins said: “This development is the result of a dispute between Rubis and CAMS.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with Air Services, but it obviously means our aircraft cannot get fuel from Rubis, and could be grounded, until their dispute with CAMS is resolved.”


ASL’s Options

Rubis had informed ASL that until the dispute is settled it can supply the airline at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.  However, according to ASL’s General Manager the option is simply not economical.

ASL also received a mail from CAMS indicating that it can supply the company with fuel.  When questioned why not this option Arjoon-Martins said, “Air Services would be reluctant to re-engage with CAMS. In the past their prices were exorbitant, were continuously rising, and they were never open to negotiation despite collective lobbying by ASL Wings Aviation and Roraima Airways at that time.

Additionally, and most importantly they also interrupted our fuel supply in August 2011.”

Arjoon-Martins noted: “This development is a perfect example of the hurdles for any aviation company who is at the mercy of a sole supplier of aviation fuel. It not a case of something than can happen. It did happen, and it is totally the result of actions taken by two other companies”.

She added, “Foreseeing these very circumstances was what led to ASL deciding in 2011 to invest in a state-of-the-art fuel farm which not only raised the standards of fuel handling at Ogle but is intended to offer other aircraft operators at Ogle an alternative fuel supplier and move away from the present monopoly.”

Arjoon-Martins told reporters that ASL will have to ration its current stock of fuel but will only be able to provide flying services up until Wednesday morning.



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