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Solomon Airlines is working with regional fuel suppliers to continue examining the cause of fuel contamination which grounded the airline’s single Airbus A320 international aircraft last month.

The aircraft was not operational for nearly two weeks, requiring the hiring of additional aircraft capacity and creating delays and flight cancellations across Solomon Airlines scheduled international operations.

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“Our first priority was to apologise to our customers and to seek ways to reaccommodate their travel requirements,” said Solomon Airlines CEO Mr Gus Kraus.

“Now we are continuing to forensically examine the cause of the contamination issue to ensure it is addressed and does not occur again.

“This involves collaboration with aviation regulators, fuel supply companies in our region, aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industries, and examining our own processes,” Mr Kraus said.

The Joint Inspection Group (JIG), the global authority for the development of aviation fuel supply standards, and the International Air Transport Association IATA set out recommended industry standards  and fuel testing regimes.

The JIG  standard for an acceptable microbial growth presence expected in aviation fuel systems is less than 10,000 cfu/litre (colony forming units per millilitre).

“To date we have received laboratory testing results measuring microbial growth in Jet A1 fuel from South Pacific Oil tanks, at Henderson Airport. SPO’s fuel supply system was not the source of the contamination,”
Mr Kraus said.

“At less than 2000 cfu/litre, they are well within the benchmarks set by JIG indicating that the SPO tanks were clean and the Jet A1 fuel refuelled into the Airbus was well within specification.

“We are awaiting further test results from a number of suppliers across the region and are grateful for the willing co-operation of our partners,” he added.

Solomon Airlines said aviation fuel testing for microbial contamination is standard operation for users of aviation jet fuel, as microbial growth does occur in fuel supplies and storage and can escalate under certain conditions.  The airline said around the world this is understood and monitored by the industry covering the entire supply chain for aviation fuels from refinery to wing-tip.

Joint Inspection Group (JIG) standards are followed by over 100-member organisations globally, operating at more than 2750 airports and supply & distribution locations in over 100 countries. Solomon Airlines Airbus A320 has now resumed full commercial operations.

  • Solomon Airlines Press

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