Portugal airports running out of fuel as travellers warned of major flight disruptions

Nationwide strike involving drivers of hazardous-goods vehicles has leads to shortages

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 17 April 2019 08:42
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Portugal airports running out of fuel as travellers warned of major flight disruptions

Travellers to and from Portugal are being warned that their flights may be disrupted.

A nationwide strike involving drivers of hazardous-goods vehicles has led to fuel shortages at Lisbon, Porto and Faro airports.

Lisbon, the busiest airport in Portugal, is warning travellers: “Due to a national strike, [the] aircraft fuel supply was interrupted, so there might be changes to your flight. For further details, please contact you your airline.”

An easyJet spokesperson told The Independent: “Six flights between the UK and Portugal today have been required to make fuel stops on route.

“We are doing everything possible to minimise the disruption for our customers and whilst this is outside of our control, we would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience experienced as a result of the strike action.”

An evening flight from Faro to Gatwick stopped in Porto in northern Portugal, and the evening flight from Faro to Bristol went to Santiago in northwest Spain to fill up.

Another easyJet flight has been delayed overnight in the Portuguese capital. The evening departure to Geneva was postponed to Wednesday morning, says the airline, “due to a fueling issue in Lisbon”.

The British Airways flight due out from Lisbon at 6.45pm was nearly three hours behind schedule.

A BA spokesperson said: “Like all airlines, we are experiencing some minor disruption to our schedule as a result of the strike action in Portugal.

“We are doing everything we can to minimise the inconvenience to our customers and will continue to review the situation.”

A Delta Airlines departure from the Portuguese capital to New York JFK left four hours behind schedule.

Ryanair’s 4pm flight from Lisbon to Rome was two hours late.

Airlines flying shorter routes can “tanker” fuel to Portugal, flying in with enough of a surplus in their tanks to be able to return to their origin.

For Liverpool fans going to Porto for Wednesday night’s Champion’s League quarter-final second leg, the most significant impact will be on the roads – Porto appears to have sufficient reserves of fuel to get supporters home.

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The strike by drivers belonging to the Sindicato Nacional de Motoristas de Matérias Perigosas (SNMMP) is part of a dispute over professional recognition.

The industrial action is also affecting petrol stations around Portugal, with many reports that they have run out of fuel.

Portugal’s government is seeking to enforce minimum service levels to maintain supplies to airports and filling stations.

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