No answers as Fresno jet fuel shortage strands hundreds of flying passengers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno has had a frustrating week for the flying public as a fuel shortage has changed plans for hundreds of travelers and left a lot of them stranded.

Julie Lucido watched a line of United airplanes going nowhere on Sunday during her seven hours at the Fresno airport.

"I've never seen - I almost took a picture and then I had too much stuff in my hands - of just the flight of planes not going anywhere because of apparently no fuel," the Fresno traveler said.

JJ Johnson had similar trouble on an American flight on Thursday when he tried to get to Indianapolis through Dallas.

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Just in the last five days at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, United and American have had to divert at least 20 flights and cancel one.

"Not until we got to the airport did we find out we were being diverted to Las Vegas because of a fuel shortage in Fresno," said the traveler from Madera Ranchos. "The lack of information was what was really concerning."

Just in the last five days here at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, United and American have had to divert at least 20 flights and cancel one because of that fuel shortage.

Fresno flights have had to stop in Bakersfield, San Jose, Las Vegas or other airports to get enough fuel to make their final destination.

"The problem is the problems it creates down the line," Johnson said. "My connections were pretty close."

Johnson had to spend the night in Las Vegas and got to Indianapolis late.

Lucido cut short her trip to the East Coast by two days.

Getting an answer about why it's happened has proved challenging.

Fresno airport managers say it's not their issue. They have no involvement in the fueling process and referred us to the airlines and the private fuel vendors, including Ross Aviation.

We checked with them in person, on the phone, and via email and got no answers.

A spokesperson for SkyWest Airlines acknowledged "fuel operational issues have created some challenges with flights," but told me he didn't know what was at the root of the issue, which is not exclusive to Fresno.

We also tracked issues at the Redwood Coast Humboldt County Airport, where a fuel shortage forced several flights to stop somewhere other than their destination.

Their aviation director, Cody Roggatz, blamed a lack of truck drivers.

"We did make fuel orders last week -- multiple fuel orders -- that got canceled just because of driver availability to get fuel up to us," he said.

Whatever the reason for the shortage, it may be resolved.

A spokesperson for American Airlines also commented on the situation, saying, "Our fuel vendor experienced a brief issue late last week, and we worked to limit impact to our customers. All fuel systems are now back on track."

After it altered four flights Sunday, none had fuel-related delays on Monday.
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