Gas pains: Svalbard Airport rationing scarce fuel, Svalbard Auto cleaning out tanks

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Those needing to move around in Svalbard during the next week may find themselves fuming as the fuel supply at the airport is nearly down to fumes and the gas station will be cleaning out their tanks.

Svalbard Airport is facing an “an uncomfortable situation” and rationing its nearly depleted supply, Morten Ulsnes, the airport’s manager, told NRK.

“The ship with the fuel will not come to Longyearbyen until well into next week and another shipment before the end of the week is unlikely in our minds,” he said. “Until then we are rationing out the fuel.”

“Avinor has waited a long time for new supply of fuel,” he added. “But things have dragged out in time and now the airport management is taking no chances. They are in a dialogue with the airlines and requesting that those who have the opportunity to fill their tanks so that they do not need to get replenishment in Svalbard.”

Norwegian Air and Scandinavian Airlines both use 737 Next Generation planes with a range of at least 5,650 kilometers for their 2,042-kilometer flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen.

“But not everyone can manage this and when they get here obviously they can fuel up with us,” Ulsnes told NRK. “But emergency preparedness here in the archipelago is the first priority; this will not affect life and health.”

He said he is only aware of one time during the past ten years the airport has been in a similar situation.

Those driving vehicles in Longyearbyen may also find themselves temporarily out of luck if they need gas as Svalbard Auto will be cleaning its fuel tanks at various times next Tuesday through Thursday.