Jet fuel shortage in Norman Wells disrupts flights in the Sahtu

Imperial Oil, the only fuel supplier for Norman Wells, says a recent shipment of fuel wasn't usable for commercial flights.

North-Wright Airways, travellers in region affected after fuel shipment deemed unusable

As the only airline that serves the smaller and fly-in communities in the Sahtu region, North-Wright Airways Ltd. and travellers are being hit hard by the lack of fuel. (Jason van Bruggen)

North-Wright Airways Ltd. has had to cancel flights and reschedule others due to a fuel shortage.

The airline's jet fuel supplier is Imperial Oil — the only such supplier in Norman Wells, N.W.T.

"We are experiencing challenges with the supply of jet fuel in Norman Wells," said Imperial Oil spokesperson Christina Randall.

She said there was a recent shipment of fuel to the community that, after testing, didn't meet the standards for commercial use.

As the only airline that serves the smaller and fly-in communities in the Sahtu region, North-Wright and travellers to the region are being hit hard by the lack of fuel.

"We're an essential service," said Kyle Newhook, operations manager for North-Wright. "We've had people miss their connections in other locations. The majority of what we're experiencing is operational delays and cancellations, which is affecting all of our customers." 

"We're making every phone call and email and everything we can do to restore things to our proper order," he said. 

Randall said Imperial Oil is working on a solution to the shortage, but expects it won't be resolved for another few weeks.

Other airlines with routes through Norman Wells, such as Canadian North and First Air, haven't been as impacted as North-Wright Airways since they can skip refuelling in Norman Wells. 

"We've had no disruption of service. We don't expect any. We are tankering our fuel out of Inuvik and out of Yellowknife," said Gail Quinn, a spokesperson for Canadian North. 

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