The poor management of fuel in some aircraft operations continues to pose a serious risk to aviation safety according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

ATSB Chief Commissioner, Mr Martin Dolan, said fuel mismanagement is a continuing concern for the ATSB due to the high number of fuel-related occurrences reported each year.

'Each year, the ATSB receives more than 20 reports of fuel exhaustion or starvation incidents and accidents,' Mr Dolan said.

'These events have led to forced landings, diversions to other aerodromes and, in the worst cases, fatal crashes.'

'Many accidents involving fuel exhaustion and starvation are avoidable through good fuel management practices and procedures.'

ATSB data reveals that aircraft involved in private and charter operations are particularly at risk of experiencing fuel exhaustion or starvation due to poor fuel management.

Fuel exhaustion and fuel starvation are the two main reasons fuel stops going to the engine. Fuel exhaustion occurs when there is no useable fuel to supply the engine; fuel starvation happens when the fuel supply to the engine is interrupted although there is still enough fuel on board.

'The ATSB will continue to monitor this worrying trend and will work with relevant operators and pilots to help improve fuel management,' says Mr Dolan.

The ATSB has just released its latest Avoidable Accident report that helps pilots and aircraft operators better understand and manage fuel exhaustion and starvation. Starved and exhausted: Fuel management aviation accidents is available on the Safety Awareness section of the ATSB website at

Media contact: 1800 020 616
Last update 30 January 2014