American Airlines on Monday warned its pilots of a fuel shortage and asked them to conserve fuel when possible, according to a company memo obtained by CNBC.
The airline said its fuel deliveries to midsize airports are delayed due to a lack of truck drivers, trucks and fuel supply. The company reportedly said its flights will carry additional fuel into airports affected by the shortage, a move that could add stops to certain flights.
“We are aware of fuel supply issues at some airports, predominantly across the western U.S., affecting a number of carriers," an American Airlines spokesperson told The Hill. "American is currently experiencing minimal operational impact due to fuel supply issues. Our team continues to work around the clock to monitor the situation and minimize the impact on our customers.”
Western states have been plagued by a recent jet fuel shortage, which has delayed commercial flights and cargo deliveries. Nevada lawmakers on Saturday said they would work to minimize disruption for passengers and ensure firefighters have enough fuel to combat wildfires. Governors in South Dakota and Wyoming relaxed some restrictions on fuel deliveries.
American Airlines’s recent memo indicates that the jet fuel shortage is becoming a nationwide problem.
“American Airlines station jet fuel delivery delays initially affected mostly western U.S. cities, but are now being reported at American stations across the country,” reads the company memo obtained by CNBC. “Delivery delays are expected to continue through mid-August.”
Domestic flights nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels in June. Online customers spent $6 billion on flights within the U.S. last month, just 5 percent lower than June 2019, according to an analysis from Adobe Digital Insights.
The recent surge in air travel has rapidly increased demand for fuel, but truck companies say they cannot find workers to transport it. Airlines and airports have similarly struggled to find enough employees to accommodate the influx of summer travelers.
Companies in every major industry say they are short-staffed amid record U.S. job openings. The swift economic recovery from the pandemic has squeezed global supply chains, leading to a shortage of key products such as semiconductors, food items and even school supplies.