Have You Checked the Airport You Are Flying From?.

How many times have you arrived at an airport to find that your booked ticket is useless due to...

  • The flights are late or worse still cancelled,

  • The airline says that your ticket was never booked,

  • The cab was delayed due to traffic and you
    missed your flight.

Imagine you are sitting at your hotel in and you read the following

"Cape Town International Airport remained closed to incoming flights just after 4pm on Sunday, an hour past the time authorities said it would re-open.

A runway at the airport was closed shortly before noon for emergency repairs, following the discovery of a "pavement surface defect".

According to Airports Company South Africa spokesperson Deidre Hendricks, a repair team was still working on the problem, and "all safety concerns will have to be sorted out before we can bring it back into action".

Asked to define the runway defect, she said she thought it involved a "lifting of asphalt and some crumbling". She did not know the extent of the problem.

Asked to comment on unconfirmed reports the defect was discovered during the landing of an international flight, she said: "I can not confirm that. It is speculation at this point in time."

On how long the runway would remain out of action, she said it would be "back in operation by late afternoon".

"That could be 10 minutes from now or an hour. We are not happy with the runway yet," Hendricks said.

Flights were still leaving from the airport on another runway. - Sapa "

All very well but you want to fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg that very morning!

All of these delays can effect each member that is in your planned meeting and this is where video conferencing comes into it's own. For potential travel costs of delegates coming to this meeting, you could probably rent the video conferencing equipment at half the price.

Logistical failures threaten strategic interests .. so why not just VIDEO CONFERENCE through MWGROUP

If anything, the jet fuel shortages at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg last week 7th Aug 2013 served to remind South Africa that it should step up efficiency in its strategic supply chains - an area where one simple glitch can cost the country billions and pose a serious threat to South Africa's strategic interests.

As has been the case with coal supplies relating to state power utility Eskom's electricity crisis, there appears to be a serious lack of synchronisation between the various role-players in the strategic supply chain.

And, in both instances, the name of Transnet Freight Rail crops up as part of the problem rather than the solution, despite Transnet's ambitious R78 billion capital investment programme to upgrade and modernise its services and systems.

Last week, Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) announced that airlines using OR Tambo International, Africa's busiest airport, had been asked to voluntarily cut back their jet fuel use by 30% as the airport's normal 5-6 day reserves level had dwindled to a dangerously low 2-day level. This led to denials and finger-pointing by the major role players involved in ensuring that South African airports have sufficient jet fuel supplies to keep aircraft flying, causing Energy Minister Dipuo Peters to appoint a task team to get to the bottom of the problem.

Not only are South Africa's strategic supply chains that drive vital sectors such as electricity, transport and mining affected by such logistical failures, but fears have now also been expressed that South Africa's multi-billion rand 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup tournament showcase could be adversely affected by thousands of foreign visitors being stranded by transport breakdowns.

Because of the exemplary voluntary co-operation of airlines using OR Tambo, most airlines were not affected. But airline executives are believed to be concerned that it could happen again - perhaps with worse consequences - as it was not the first time the airport has been affected by fuel shortages. It therefore cannot be dismissed as an isolated or one-off incident.

About 70% of OR Tambo's jet fuel supplies are moved by Transnet Pipelines (TPL) from the Natref refinery in Sasolburg - which is jointly owned and operated by Sasol Limited and Total South Africa - to the airport. The other 30% is moved by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).

Reuters news agency has quoted Sasol spokesperson Nothemba Noruwana as saying that while the Natref refinery did experience a three-day technical problem in mid-July, that had no connection with OR Tambo's current fuel supplies problem.

However, with most of the fingers pointed at Transnet, the company countered with a statement through spokesman John Dludlu, saying that "issues behind the shortage" had nothing to do with TPL, but were part of "a process between an inland refinery" (indicating Natref) and OR Tambo. "Transnet Pipelines is, therefore, in no way responsible for any of these supply issues," said Dludlu.

Dludlu maintained that there were no problems on the pipeline system, saying TPL did temporarily shut down the pipeline between Natref and OR Tambo last week Tuesday, but said that was because there was insufficient supply from the refinery. Dludlu said this had been a "planned shutdown" to allow stocks to be built up at the Natref refinery, after which pipeline delivery was resumed.

Dludlu went on to admit that TFR's rail service from the coast - along which the remaining 30% of OR Tambo's supplies are delivered - was also temporarily interrupted in the last few weeks by "some operational issues which have since been addressed" and that "consequently, the rail service has been normalised and TFR is now delivering to weekly orders".

So Natref, TFR and TPL have experienced problems and/or interruptions recently, but both Transnet and Natref deny responsibility, pointing fingers at each other. Which leaves the question, why Acsa did not insist on emergency road tanker transport when it saw its reserves starting to drop?

All of this suggests a glaring lack of transparency, accountability and co-operation by stakeholders on all sides which poses a serious threat to South Africa's strategic interests - apart from the risk of South Africans being made to look like fools during next year's soccer spectacle.

While OR Tambo's general manager Chris Hlekane may be correct in pointing out that a supply line's weaknesses only become apparent when things do not go according to plan, South African airports have had previous fuel shortages from which Acsa and the other stakeholders could have learnt.

Source: http://www.bluechipjournal.co.za/articles/other/206-fuel

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