U.S.

Valley flyers faced delays, cancellations over jet fuel crunch. Now, the problem is spreading.

A shortage of jet fuel, coupled with supply chain issues and an urgent demand from firefighting aircraft, continues to cause problems at airports around the West.

In Nevada, state and federal lawmakers said they are investigating a possible shortage of jet fuel that could delay cargo delivery and passenger travel at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the coming days.

A spike in demand for jet fuel both by commercial airlines and from firefighting aircraft in Montana and the Pacific Northwest led to departure problems and daylong flight delays recently at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Fresno Yosemite International Airport was among the first Western United States airports to face a crunch in jet fuel, as vendors contracted to supply SkyWest Airlines were unable to sufficiently deploy truckers due to the shortage associated with that industry.

In an interview with The Sun, one trucking industry executive pointed to a 17,000-driver shortfall for food service trucking – a highly time-sensitive subset of the trucking industry – as demand skyrocketed across the broader economy.

Lawmakers said the Reno-Tahoe airport serving Nevada’s second-largest metro area faces a shortage of jet fuel that could force the cancellation of cargo and passenger fights, potentially restricting the flow of tourists and essential goods into the northern part of the state.

Besides serving Reno, a popular gambling destination, the airport is the nearest passenger terminal to Lake Tahoe.

Nevada’s political leaders issued a statement late Saturday pledging to minimize disruption at the airport and ensure the aerial fight against Western wildfires isn’t hampered.

“To be clear, further failure to secure adequate fuel supplies is unacceptable,” wrote Gov. Steve Sisolak, U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.