Fuel Shortage at Reno-Tahoe Airport Sparks Concerns from Nevada Leaders

Posted on: July 25, 2021, 11:25h. 

Last updated on: July 26, 2021, 11:42h.

Nevada officials issued a statement over the weekend saying they are concerned about the possibility of a fuel shortage hindering flights in and out of Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Reno-Tahoe airport
Planes sit on the taxiway at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Nevada officials said over the weekend they are working with airlines and other stakeholders to ensure a reported jet fuel shortage will not impact flights out of the state’s second-largest airport. (Image: Reno-Tahoe International Airport/Facebook)

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), US Sens. Jacky Rosen (D) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D), and US Rep. Mark Amodei (R) issued a joint statement Saturday regarding the issue, noting they became aware of it just days before.

Airport officials first noted the shortage on its social media sites as early as Wednesday and again on Sunday. Officials encouraged passengers “over the next couple of weeks” to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport.

The Associated Press reported fuel shortages were happening across the western US. That’s thanks, in part, to the need for planes to fight wildfires in the northwestern part of the country, as well as logistical issues.

“There’s just nobody available to drive the trucks of fuel in here,” Reno airport spokesperson Stacey Sunday told the AP. She added that it was difficult to determine how long it would take to resolve the problem.

Nevada Leaders: Fuel Shortage “Unacceptable”

In their statement, the Nevada leaders said they are working together to resolve the matter in hopes of ensuring flights, including cargo planes carrying essential supplies to the state, are not disrupted.

They said they expect airlines and fuel companies to step up and resolve the issue, adding that it would be “unacceptable” to not secure an adequate supply.

We are currently speaking to all responsible parties to understand how this situation occurred and prevent future shortages. But our immediate focus is on ensuring resources to combat western wildfires are not impacted and that there is as little disruption as possible for Nevadans and visitors who depend on reliable air service,” they said.

One of the fires is occurring not too far from the Tahoe area. On Friday, Sisolak declared a state of emergency in Douglas County regarding the Tamarack Fire, which has consumed more than 50,000 acres in Nevada and California. The ongoing fire threatens more than 2,700 homes in Nevada.

More than 3,500 residents have been evacuated from the area in Douglas County, roughly 20 miles southeast of the town of Stateline and the southern end of Lake Tahoe.

Reno Rebounding from Pandemic

While not nearly as big as Las Vegas, the Reno-Tahoe area still attracts millions of visitors annually, both to casinos in the region as well as skiing resorts and other recreational facilities around the lake.

The airport served 302,403 passengers in May, the first time it had eclipsed that mark since February 2020, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The month before that, the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority reported that Washoe County, home to Reno, reported its best April in terms of taxable room revenue, with $32.4 million reported for the month.