Liberia: Cancelation of Air France Flights – Technical Issues on the Plane or Bad Jet Fuel?


MONROVIA – Close to a hundred passengers travelling on Air France on Friday were left stranded at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) after the airliner cancelled its flight for second day in row. Sources familiar with the operations at the RIA informed FrontPageAfrica that the cancellations were due to lack of jet fuel.

Conex Liberia, the company that took over from Total Liberia, has the contract to supply jet fuel at the RIA.

Conex’s Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. T. Nelson Williams, told FrontPageAfrica that CONEX has enough jet fuel and other petroleum products in the country to meet the demands of the market. He attributed the cancellation of the flights to technical issues on the part of Air France.

“The plane had technical issues and they requested for fuel, the fueler went there and waited for three hours and was told that they did not need the fuel,” Mr. Williams said. This occurred on Thursday.

He said, on Friday also, Air France requested urgent fueling and without hesitation a truck was dispatched and seven metric tons of fuel was served.

“We do have enough jet fuel in the country and other products came in two days ago… and we made it available to Air France so I don’t know what’s going on or where the information is coming from,” he said.

According to Williams, there was no request from SN Brussels.

However, FrontPageAfrica gathered that the airlines are not happy with the quality of fuel being supplied by CONEX which has compelled Brussels to bring back their check-in time and Air France to fly to Abidjan for refueling before taking off for their destination.

The Air France flight that left passenger stranded on Friday night reportedly flew to Abidjan this morning for fueling and would be taking the passengers to their destinations today.

But Mr. Williams insisted that CONEX does not take the risk of putting tainted product on the market, especially for aircraft. He said, CONEX supplied Air France 600 gallons of fuel on Friday and the airline has made additional request for fueling today for the plane that developed technical issues on Thursday and could not leave the RIA.

“They’ve already told us they’ll need product once they fix that plane, so, if the product wasn’t good, why will they be requesting for more product?” he asked rhetorically.

FrontPageAfrica was unable to get comments from Air France on the saga.