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BP to Exit South Africa’s Aviation Market, Impacting Airport Refueling Operations

A South African Airways A340 lifts off. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

British oil and gas giant BP has decided to exit all of its aviation activities in South Africa, including refuelling planes at OR Tambo International Airport. The decision to withdraw, according to BP, is “as a result of Air BP’s current global business strategy.”

“As part of good business practice, Air BP reviews its portfolio on a continuous basis. In light of its latest review, a decision was taken to exit all of BP’s aviation activities – as operator at airports, and direct supplier to airlines – in South Africa,” said Hamlet Morule, BP Southern Africa’s spokesperson, in a statement to local outlet News24.

Last year, two Russian planes were unable to refuel at large international fuel suppliers at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airport. The fuel suppliers had to adhere to the sanctions imposed on Russia by their countries of origin and their own company policies. This event was widely reported and sparked discussions about the impact of political tensions on aviation fuel supplies.

Impact on South African Aviation Industry

BP has sent communications advising its customers of its decision to cease aviation fuel activities at East London and George Airports on March 31, and has withdrawn from Cape Town International Airport effective Jan. 31. BP Southern Africa has also decided to exit operations at OR Tambo International Airport and is currently serving notice to cease being managing participant, effective May 1. Customers have been informed of the decision to cease aviation activities at OR Tambo and King Shaka International Airports on April 30.

The decision is likely to have a significant impact on the South African aviation industry, as BP is a major player in the country’s aviation fuel market. It is unclear at this time how the industry will respond to BP’s withdrawal, but it is expected that other fuel suppliers will move to fill the gap left by BP.

BP emphasized its commitment to working with stakeholders to ensure that customers and the country are not adversely impacted as a direct result of BP’s exit from South Africa’s aviation market. No further information has been released to explain the decision at this time. We have requested information from BP in London and South Africa and will update this story when more information is available.

BP’s decision to exit all of its aviation activities in South Africa, including refuelling planes at OR Tambo International Airport, is “as a result of Air BP’s current global business strategy,” according to the company. The issue with Russian planes not being able to refuel due to sanctions may have played a role in the decision, but BP has not explicitly stated this. The company has informed customers of its plans to cease aviation fuel activities at several airports in South Africa, and has emphasized its commitment to working with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition. Further details have yet to be released.

Victor Shalton


  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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