Wednesday 16 October 2019

Schiphol not responsible for fuel breakdown, says airport chief

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Schiphol chief Dick Benschop has said that fuelling problems must be prevented from occurring and that communication needs to improve but that it is not responsible for the fuelling breakdown at the airport, broadcaster NOS reports.

The airport’s fuelling system broke down twice recently in what is the airport’s busiest time, leaving thousands stranded because of cancelled flights.

In a first official reaction from the airport, Benschop told current affairs programme Nieuwsuur that the event was ‘very embarrassing’ for Schiphol and that such events need to be prevented.

But Benschop maintained that fuelling service Aircraft Fuel Systems (AFS) is the party responsible for the breakdown which took nine hours to remedy. However, aviation lawyer Jochem Croon told  NOS that ‘Schiphol is responsible’ and ‘therefore liable’ if fuel delivery is interrupted.

Communication with passengers needs to improve, Benschop conceded after many travellers complained about the lack of information during both events. ‘Something needs to be done and we will have to talk to airlines and travel organisations about what we can do,’ he said.

It is not yet known what caused the system to fail, but an inspection report from 2016 highlighted ‘a lack of a clear policy on maintenance’, NOS reported earlier. Research institute TNO is investigating both incidents. The results are expected in couple of months’ time.

Aircraft Fuel Supply is a joint venture between Air France-KLM and a number of oil companies, including Shell, Esso and Texaco. The company is responsible for both the supply of fuel – some 12 million litres a day – and operates the underground infrastructure which takes the fuel to the aircraft.

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