Colonial Pipeline hack attack forces American Airlines to add stops on long-haul routes for gas to refuel planes

AMERICAN Airlines is adding extra stops to two long-haul flights so planes can refuel as a result of the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. 

The airline was forced to alter the schedule "due to the fuel supply shortage on the East Coast” as the vital US pipeline remains shut down for its fifth day.  

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"We are closely monitoring the situation and working around the clock to ensure that we have an adequate supply of fuel across our network," American Airlines told FOX Business. 

It added that the overall impact on its schedule is “minimal.”

The two routes affected both fly from Charlotte, North Carolina. 

An American flight from Charlotte to Honolulu, which is normally a direct flight, will now stop in Dallas/Fort Worth so passengers can move to another aircraft. 

The second route affected is from Charlotte to London. 

Passengers will have to stop in Boston for the place to refuel. 

Both routes are expected to return to normal operations from May 15. 

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount had cautioned that officials should be prepared for a possible fuel shortage. 

The Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45 percent of the East Coast's fuel, was shut down on Friday after a group of Russia-based hackers known as DarkSide staged a ransomware attack.

The day prior, the group also reportedly stole 100 gigabytes of data from Colonial's servers before encrypting them and demanding a ransom fee.

It's unclear if the company has paid or is negotiating a ransom, but the 5,500-mile pipeline has been almost entirely shut off for nearly five days.

Colonial says it doesn't expect to fully restore service until at least the weekend – and chaos has ensued in the meantime.

Across Virginia, Florida, and Alabama, fuel stations are completely selling out of gasoline and the governor of North Carolina has declared a state of emergency over the dwindling supplies at the pumps.

Average retail gas prices in the US have also risen to almost $3 per gallon – their highest level since late 2014.

American Airlines is also not the only in the industry to be affected.

Airlines flying out of Philadelphia International Airport, in Pennsylvania, are said to be burning through jet reserves and the airport only has enough supply to last "a couple of weeks", a spokesperson told Bloomberg.

After much speculation, the FBI confirmed on Monday that the Russian criminal gang known as DarkSide was behind the attack.

The relatively new group, which is made up of a cohort of veteran hackers, claims their only goal is to make money and not cause chaos.

Russia has no connection to the cyberattack, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.

In a statement posted on the dark web, Darkside wrote: "We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics. Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society.

"From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future."

On Monday, Newt Gingrich said that he believes the hackers who knocked out the Colonial Pipeline should be executed for the "act of war" cyber-attack.

The former house speaker told Fox News' Sean Hannity yesterday night that he believes Biden should be authorized "to order the killings of anybody overseas" found to be responsible for Friday's hack.

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