After flood snaps links with Assam, Tripura airport restricts fuel supply to planes

Agartala, May 19 (PTI) The Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport here in Tripura has restricted the supply of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to aeroplanes after flood and landslides affected communication channels with Assam from where it reaches the state, an official said on Thursday.

Planes are now allowed to refuel at the MBB Airport only for the next destination due to dwindling stock of ATF, a senior official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said here.

The MBB Airport Director Rajiv Kapoor held a meeting with airline companies and officials concerned on Wednesday and communicated the decision on curbing refuelling in the backdrop of the decline in ATF stock, the official said.

The existing stock of ATF at the Agartala airport will meet the requirement for 13-14 days if the fuel is supplied in a restricted way.

The restriction has been imposed only for a few days until railway service and road communication are restored, Kapoor told PTI.

ATF is supplied to MBB Airport from Assam via road and rail but floods and landslides in the neighbouring state have affected those services.

Around 12 tankers carrying ATF for MBB Airport are on their way via road from Assam, the official said.

The MBB Airport has become a favourite destination for airline companies to refuel their planes after VAT on ATF was reduced to 1 per cent in December last year. It resulted in a major reduction in the ATF price compared to Guwahati where a litre of it costs Rs 99.28 with 28.65 per cent of VAT.

At present, the ATF stock in MBB Airport stands at 4.50 lakh litres, an official said.

An airbus needs around 1800 to 2000 litres of ATF for flying from here to Kolkata, while it requires 1200 to 1500 litres of fuel to reach Guwahati. Around 5500-6000 litres of ATF is needed for a flight to travel from Agartala to Delhi. A flight takes around 6500 litres of fuel to go from Agartala to Bangalore, according to the official.

The number of flights operated daily at the airport is 18.

Due to disruption in the railway and road network in the region, demand for air tickets and their prices have been going up with every passing day. There has been no ticket for the Agartala-Guwahati route till May 22.