The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is intent on allowing Russian planes to refuel at South African airports under its ownership in a new “sanctioned friend of the South African government” plan, according to a News24 report.
During a briefing by ACSA of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport on February 21, 2022, ACSA CEO Mpumi Mpofu highlighted that the supply of jet fuel for refueling at its South African airports is not handled by ACSA, but rather outsourced to oil companies which have been issued the appropriate licenses, the report continued.
Mpofu argued that “this then forces ACSA to align with the stance the oil companies’ headquarters and home countries take in terms of sanctions against Russia.”
“Our board has now approved a revised jet fuel strategy to look after these types of situations so that ACSA can be in full control of who gets refueled,” Mpofu continued.
ACSA, whose majority shareholder is the South African Government at 74.6%, owns and operates nine South African airports, including three international gateways: O.R. Tambo (JNB), Cape Town (CPT) and King Shaka (DUR) International Airports.
In 2022 two Russian planes were restricted by oil companies from refueling at OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airport. This was due to the oil companies adhering to “sanctions imposed on Russia by their countries of origin and their own company policies”, the report added.
A ‘sanctioned friend of the South African government’
To circumvent its dependency on the stance of external oil companies, ACSA is looking to implement a plan that can accommodate a situation “where a sanctioned friend of the South African government needs servicing and refueling,” according to presentation given by ACSA, as reported by News24.
ACSA’s airport fuel storage and refueling facilities are currently leased out to oil companies and fuel suppliers. However, the airport body wants to resume full control of its facilities contract “a separate entity” to run the facilities on ACSA’s behalf.
According to News24, oil companies will only supply jet fuel with no involvement in refueling aircraft.
“Refusal by Fuel Consortium members or through-putters to refuel aircraft from countries with sanctions against them, will be averted,” said Mpofu.
The new plan is expected to take effect from October 1, 2024, according to an ACSA spokesperson who spoke to News24.