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Jet Fuel Shortage Hits Japan Amid Tourism Boom

Airlines in Japan are struggling to obtain enough jet fuel while some overseas air carriers have dropped plans to increase the number of flights to Japan due to a shortage of the fuel amid a booming tourist season.

Eneos Holdings, Japan’s top refiner, has been overwhelmed by airline demand for more supply and is currently working with the government to boost the availability of jet fuel in the country, a spokesperson for the company told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Workforce shortages and bottlenecks in the logistics chain are also compounding the issue with the delivery of jet fuel, the spokesperson noted. 

In addition, Japan’s Trade Minister Ken Saito said on Tuesday that several foreign airlines had ditched previous plans to increase services to Japan due to uncertainty about fuel supply. 

Meanwhile, tourist numbers in Japan are set to hit record highs as foreign tourists flock to the country due to the weak Japanese currency, the yen.

Airlines and airports have had difficulties in increasing the number of international flights due to the jet fuel shortage, sources from industry and the government told Kyodo this weekend.

“We are prioritizing the increased demand from existing customers and cannot adequately respond to (plans for) new international routes or sudden increases in flights,” a source at a petroleum refiner told Kyodo.

The shortage of workers at airports has also exacerbated the problem, according to officials.

At the same time, jet fuel demand is rebounding globally as people have shaken off the pandemic years and are traveling en masse again.

The rebound of air travel is driving global oil demand growth, analysts say.

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Jet fuel demand is set to rise by 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2024, compared to last year, according to Simon Warren, an analyst at the world’s largest independent oil trader, Vitol Group.

“Global jet demand is now back at pre-Covid levels, for the first time since 2020,’’ Warren told Bloomberg.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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