Flights to NYC taking extra fuel due to shortage worries

Flood waters from Hurricane Sandy approach the LaGuardia Airport runways and taxiways today.
Port Authority NY & NJ

NEW YORK Some airlines are opting to carry extra fuel on inbound planes due to fears over fuel shortages at New York City-area airports in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

US Airways and Southwest Airlines are among the companies which are opting to carry extra, costly jet fuel on their flights.

"It's just out of an abundance of caution," Todd Lechmacher, a spokesperson for US Airways, told

Lechmacher explained their planes typically will refuel at the New York City-area airport -- Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark - that they land at. However, they are now going to carry enough fuel to ensure a round-trip flight. The flight length should not be affected, since most of the planes used on the routes are designed for much longer flight times.

However, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey confirmed to that they have told airlines that there is enough fuel for everyone at the New York airports, and if other airlines decide to carry extra fuel, that is because of their own choice.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, which operates Southwest and AirTrain airplanes in and out of LaGuardia and Newark airports, said they regularly add extra fuel to their planes depending on the situation, so it isn't a cause for alarm.

"We build our own contingencies, and the Port Authority is a great partner, and we have been in touch with them from every chapter of this storm from prep to cleanup," the spokesperson said.

While the fuel shortage is an indirect cause of why they are carrying extra fuel, it is not the only reason. However, the spokesperson admitted it is out of the ordinary for planes to be carrying extra fuel in general.

"It is unusual with the cost of fuel being so high," the spokesperson said. "We don't typically put extra weight on airplanes."

Airlines that have decided to not add extra fuel to inbound flight include American Airlines and Spirit Airlines, according to the Associated Press. Calls to the companies about their decision were not immediately returned.