JFK Airport Jet-Fuel Supply Unaffected by Buckeye Pipeline Leak

  • About 2 barrels of gasoline released from pipeline: Buckeye
  • JetBlue, American Airlines expect operations to be normal

A leak discovered Thursday on a Buckeye Pipe Line Company LP pipe that is the primary source of jet fuel for John F. Kennedy International Airport hasn’t affected operations at the hub, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“JFK has enough jet fuel for three days, so the airport is equipped to respond to incidents that might affect the fuel supply,” said Neal Buccino, the port authority’s spokesman. JetBlue Airways Corp. and American Airlines Group Inc. said they are not expecting impact to their operations.

The leak at Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn was isolated and shut down by the Fire Department of New York City at 7:24 p.m. local time, after responding to reports at 5:17 p.m. of an odor, said John Ryan, the department’s spokesman. There were no injuries or evacuations, he said. 

“An initial investigation determined that a third party excavator was using power equipment that damaged the pipeline, which is encased in concrete,” causing about two barrels of gasoline to be released from the pipeline, Buckeye Pipe Line, the owner and operator of the network, said in an e-mailed statement. Pipeline service to JFK is not expected to be “materially impacted,” according to the statement.

A prolonged shutdown of Buckeye’s jet-fuel system would threaten to curb supplies at some of the nation’s busiest air hubs. New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports, as well as Newark and New Jersey’s Liberty International depend on the network for fuel from the the Gulf Coast. When Buckeye unexpectedly shut lines for inspections in 2014, airlines received an industrywide alert to limit the fuel they took from JFK.

Fuel is carried from the Gulf Coast to Linden, New Jersey by the Colonial Pipeline Co. system, then delivered to airports by the Buckeye network. Such heavy dependence on a single pipeline network and limited storage capacity at New York’s airports have rendered the region’s jet fuel market sensitive to disruptions in the past.

"We are aware of the situation and are monitoring it closely,” said Kate McMillan, a spokeswoman for JetBlue, the largest operator of domestic flights at Kennedy. "We are not expecting any impact to our operations right now. We are standing by for more information.”

"There is no operational impact as of right now and we don’t expect any tomorrow,” said Josh Freed, a spokesman for American Airlines.