Syria imposes new fuel rations as sanctions bite

Drivers queue for gasoline in front of a petrol station in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 15 April 2019
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Syria imposes new fuel rations as sanctions bite

  • Owners of private cars would now be allowed just 20 liters (about 7.5 gallons) of fuel every five days, the ministry said

DAMASCUS: Damascus on Monday imposed new limits on subsidised petrol for cars and motorbikes in regime-held areas of Syria, in the latest bid to curb a fuel crisis it blames on Western sanctions.
Owners of private cars would now be allowed just 20 liters (about 7.5 gallons) of fuel every five days, said the ministry of petroleum and mineral resources.
At petrol stations in the capital, queues hundreds of meters (yards) long have stretched along streets in the past few weeks, with drivers waiting for hours to get their fill.
Qusay, a taxi driver in his 30s, said he had camped out in his car overnight to make sure he got some fuel from a station, so far to no avail.
“I got to the front of the queue after midnight with less than 20 cars ahead, but then the petrol ran out at the station,” he told AFP, adding that “it’s still closed.”
Ahmad Al-Hamawi, 45, gave up after four long hours of waiting.
“I’ll try to forget my car in the coming days and walk to work,” said the radio program director.
The measures announced on Monday allow taxi drivers to fill up 20 liters every two days.
Motorbikes would be permitted three liters every five days, the ministry said, in what it described as a “temporary measure to fairly distribute petrol.”
The measures are the latest in a series of restrictions on the daily consumption of subsidised petrol.
On April 8, the ministry of petrol and mineral resources said it was temporarily slashing the daily cap on subsidised petrol by half, to 20 liters from 40 per vehicle.
Then on April 10 it further halved the amount to 20 liters every two days.
On Sunday, the government said it would halve the amount of fuel allocated to public institutions to run their vehicles, state news agency SANA said.
The petrol crisis follow fuel oil and cooking gas shortages over the winter.
Syrian officials have blamed the crisis on a flurry of Western sanctions targeting the Damascus regime since the start of the civil war in 2011.
In November, the US Treasury issued an advisory threatening penalties against those “involved in petroleum-related shipping transactions with the Government of Syria.”
Prime Minister Emad Khamis told journalists earlier this month that petrol shipments from Iran had been suspended for six months as Egypt was not allowing them through the Suez Canal, an allegation Cairo has denied.
The regime, backed by Iran and Russia, controls almost two-thirds of Syria after a series of victories against rebels and extremists since 2015, but the country’s main oil and gas fields in the northeast remain out of government control.


Paris Air Show: After Boeing showstopper, Airbus seeks order bounce

Updated 19 June 2019
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Paris Air Show: After Boeing showstopper, Airbus seeks order bounce

  • British Airways owner IAG signs letter of intent to buy 200 of its 737 MAX jets
  • Airbus is looking for up to 200 orders for the A321XLR, which is designed to open up new routes

PARIS: Airbus, reeling from the potential loss of a major customer for its best-selling A320neo as British Airways owner IAG placed a lifeline order for the grounded 737 MAX, prepared to hit back with more orders for its A321XLR on Wednesday.
The planemaker has been negotiating with US airlines investor Bill Franke whose Indigo Partners has also been known to place orders for multiple airlines within its portfolio and could reel it in for the Paris Air Show, industry sources said.
Airbus declined to comment.
After weathering intense scrutiny over safety and its public image, Boeing won a vote of confidence on Tuesday as IAG signed a letter of intent to buy 200 of its 737 MAX jets that have been grounded since March after two deadly crashes.
The surprise order lifted the energy of a previously subdued Paris Airshow, where the talk had been of the possible end of the aerospace cycle, given the issues at both Boeing and Airbus as well as geopolitical and trade tensions around the world.
Australia’s Qantas Airways said on Tuesday it would order 10 Airbus new A321XLR jets and convert a further 26 from existing orders already on the Airbus books.
Airbus is also in talks with leasing company GECAS and has been trying to secure an eye-catching order for the A321XLR from American Airlines, though the world’s largest carrier does not typically make announcements at air shows.
Airbus is looking for up to 200 orders for the A321XLR, which is designed to open up new routes.