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Keeping Beira Airport open after Cyclone Idai

Release date:
September 2019
Aerial view of flooded village after Cyclone Idai
Earlier this year in March Cyclone Idai caused extensive damage in Mozambique, displacing thousands of people and devastating local communities with an estimated 550 individuals losing their lives. Our fuels supply and logistics staff members at Beira Airport were among those impacted by the cyclone. Despite being personally affected, the team remained operational and were instrumental in ensuring that the airport reopened and that aircraft could be safely refuelled enabling relief operations to take place


Keeping the airport operational so that relief and humanitarian efforts to deliver emergency supplies and fly rescue missions by helicopter to rescue victims left stranded by the cyclone were critical. These efforts were dependent on a reliable aviation fuel supply chain, which was no mean feat given the fuel terminal was damaged and the other fuel supplier at the airport was unable to operate due to equipment failure. 


The challenge for our team at Beira was not only to deal with their own personal devastation, which for some included their homes being destroyed, but also to keep the airport supplied with fuel from the damaged fuel terminal and to ensure effective management of fuel stock. Our South African team also went above and beyond, taking their own initiative to charter an aircraft to deliver much needed emergency supplies to our staff in Beira.


Not only did our team’s efforts ensure that fuel was supplied for emergency relief efforts, but they also continued to supply fuel to normal scheduled customers. Relief efforts in Mozambique are ongoing.


We hope you will join us in extending our thanks to all those involved in the relief efforts at Beira Airport and in Mozambique. Our thoughts are with all our customers, their families, friends, our colleagues and people of Mozambique affected by the Cyclone Idai.


“Despite tremendous personal stress levels, the team performed their duties safely and professionally. Team members made personal sacrifices to ensure the rescue missions could take place and the airport was kept operational. By working with the out of hours team in Dubai and the sales network we established a process to successfully manage the available stocks. On some days we had to ration fuel and we negotiated with the government to release bonded fuel destined for export in order to maintain supply.” Anthony Leon, general manager, Air BP Southern Africa


“It was a tough and surreal experience, we had to find the strength to work with the scarce resources we had. I had to motivate the staff to keep pushing and do their work safely even though they were also victims of the cyclone. We were constantly dealing with all types of stakeholders and clients, ministers, ambassadors, the military, etc. It was a lot of pressure, maybe that also helped us keep our minds busy and away from the trauma we suffered from the cyclone. But we had to keep pushing as we knew that Beira airport was the closest access point for all the relief efforts for the cyclone.” Benjamin Fernandes, depot manager, Beira Airport


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