Floods halt Findel airport fuel supply pipeline
Floods damaged the pipeline supplying Findel airport with kerosene, the government said on Thursday evening, and incoming flights should make sure they have enough fuel for a roundtrip or divert to airports in the area.
“Likely, a pipeline valve was damaged as a result of floods in the area. This incident caused an interruption in the supply of kerosene to Luxembourg airport,” the ministry for mobility and public works said in a statement.
The pipeline was back in operation on Friday, Luxembourg's transport ministry later said. The pipeline itself was not damaged by flooding but shut off automatically on Thursday because the quantity of water surrounding the pipes triggered a sensor, the ministry said.
Officials had thought that a pipeline valve might have been damaged by the flooding near Echternach, but an inspection found no damage, the ministry said.
On Thursday, thousands in Luxembourg were forced out of their homes, after torrential rains caused rivers to burst their banks across the country. In Germany, the floods killed at least 80 people. The Moselle river was still rising on Friday and would continue to do so until Sunday, authorities said.
Airport fuel reserves were enough for smooth operations at Findel on Friday. After that, inbound planes should fill up with enough kerosene for a round trip or divert to airports in the area. Until the pipeline can go back into operation, the airport will also rely on lorries to supply fuel, the ministry said.
Passengers would be contacted by their airline if their flights are affected by the fuel problem, airport spokeswoman Rebecca Pecnik-Welsch said on Friday.
The damage to the pipeline most likely happened on the German side of Echternach, a Luxembourg town that was evacuated on Thursday, the ministry said.
The pipeline is part of a NATO supply network created during the Cold War. More than 5,000 kilometres long, it is the longest of its kind that NATO deploys and was intended to provide basic supplies for the air force in wartime.
The pipeline supplies fuel to all planes landing and taking off from the Luxembourg airport. “Works to remedy the incident are complicated due to inundations in the Echternach area,” the statement said.