US airlines are currently struggling to get fuel after a cyber attack shuts Colonial Pipeline’s operations. Long-haul flights are forced to add refueling stops. Colonial Pipeline is the largest fuel transmission line from Gulf Coast to the Northeast. It stopped its operations on Friday night following a ransomware cyberattack by a criminal group known as DarkSide.
Colonial Pipeline operates more than 5,500 miles of fuel transmission line from Houston to Linden, New Jersey. It is looking to restore operations by the end of the week. The pipeline provides fuel to seven different airports. Analysts believe that this could impact supplies especially as Memorial Day weekend nears.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is already looking at other sources for their fuel. However, airport management said that their operations are not affected. Its spokeswoman said that “Hartsfield-Jackson and its airline partners are in close communications with fuel suppliers and are taking steps to mitigate any impact the Colonial incident might have”. She added that “Currently, ATL is coordinating with additional suppliers to augment the airport fuel inventory”.
Minor Effect on Operations?
American Airlines added stops to two of its long-haul flights to conserve fuel. However, American Airlines said that there is no reason to be concerned. One of its supposedly nonstop flights headed to Honolulu is going to stop at Dallas-Fort Worth International. Passengers will then switch planes from there. On the other hand, its Charlotte-London flight will be stopping in Boston.
Southwest Airlines announced that it is going to fly planes with additional fuel into airports such as Nashville International Airport. This will supplement the current local supply. According to Southwest’s spokesman, “We’re happy to report that there has been no impact to Southwest’s flight operations”.
Critical Component in US’ Petroleum Infrastructure
The pipeline plays an important role in US petroleum infrastructure. It transports approximately 2.5 million barrels of petroleum products per day. Colonial Pipeline announced that the situation still “remains fluid and continues to evolve” as they try to resume operations incrementally.
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