When shopping for jet fuel for international trips, each business aircraft operator is driven by the value they place on convenience, service and price. Part of the shopping process is getting a fuel quote. Here is what you need to know to effectively obtain jet fuel quotes, as well as other considerations to keep in mind during the shopping process:
1. You will need to provide the following information
Jet fuel quotes can usually be obtained through one or more fuel resellers, such as a contract fuel program, per destination. In order to obtain a quote, you need to provide your operational status (private non-revenue or charter [non-scheduled commercial]), destination, schedule, fixed base operator (FBO) or ground handler, and volume of jet fuel required. In order to exempt value added tax (VAT) and other applicable fuel taxes at the pump, the fuel reseller will need to know your operational status and whether your next destination is international or domestic.
2. Jet fuel costs vary depending upon your schedule and operation
Jet fuel prices usually change on a set schedule, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on the country. Size of aircraft and/or volume of fuel uplift will impact price per gallon. A BBJ- or ACJ-sized business aircraft, for example, will often have access to lower per-gallon pricing than smaller aircraft. In addition, applicable fuel taxes – including value added tax (VAT) and mineral oil tax (MOT) – can double the cost of jet fuel uplifts at many destinations. Charter operators are often able to exempt fuel taxes at the pump, and some private non-revenue flights – those for business as opposed to leisure purposes – may be able to exempt VAT in Europe if the next leg is outside the European Union (EU).
3. Other variables to consider in addition to price
It’s important to know the effective dates of the current jet fuel quote and taxes that will be included. When flying to destinations with multiple fuelers, weigh the differences in price — sometimes just a few cents — versus level of service. For example, some locations require that you use a particular fuel supplier, depending upon the FBO or ground handler you’re using, and a good example is Japan. Operators should also consider where the supplier will refuel them on the field. Will the fuel truck come to your aircraft parking stand, or will you need to reposition your aircraft? In some cases, fuel trucks may be too large to get to your aircraft unless you’re parked on the periphery of the ramp.
4. Local taxes on jet fuel must always be considered
Federal excise tax (FET) may be applicable when fueling in the U.S., and these taxes have remained stable over the past few years. MOT tax rates are also fairly stable but can double the base price of fuel at some locations, such as Germany. VAT rates range from 15 – 23% in Europe. Rules for exempting fuel taxes at the pump vary from country to country, and it’s important to be aware of all applicable tax nuances. At Geneva (LSGG), for example, charter operators may be able to exempt taxes if they present an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and file their flight plan as “IN.” Presenting an AOC but filing as a private non-revenue flight will likely make you liable for fuel taxes. In some countries – India is a good example – you’ll pay tax on fuel in your tanks on landing if your next destination is domestic.
5. Steps an operator should take to compare jet fuel quotes
Carefully read through each jet fuel quote you receive, including notes and comments, to make sure you’re comparing “apples to apples.” Are the same applicable taxes included with each quote, and are volumes, dates of uplift, and status of flight – private non-revenue or charter – the same for each quote? Don’t just assume the quote showing you the lowest price is the one that you should go with for the best overall savings. Pay close attention to differences in taxes as indicated on your quotes. For the most accurate jet fuel quotes, it’s best to provide a firm schedule including dates/times. Method of payment will also impact jet fuel uplift cost. For instance, when paying with cash or consumer credit cards, you’ll usually pay posted price and will have more difficulty disputing billing or tax charge errors later. As an alternative, you can use a contract fuel program, as discussed in an earlier article by Michelle Smith called Arranging Jet Fuel: 6 Tips for During Your Mission.
7. Extra fees may be involved. Check the fine print in your quotes
Are there overtime fees applicable, and is there a cancellation cost when an after-hours fuel delivery is set up but not used? When using hydrant fuel, are additional costs involved? You may need to reposition the aircraft to the fuel hydrant, and at some locations – such as Anchorage (PANC) – you may have to pay an additional ground handler fee when using hydrant fuel. Check the fine print on any fuel quote for hidden fees. Confirm all fees in advance with your fuel reseller.
8. Other tips to consider
Give your fuel reseller as much information as possible beforehand, as this will allow for the most accurate jet fuel quotes. Compare base prices as well as total price – with all taxes and fees included. When a trip is in progress, pay close attention to your fuel tickets prior to signing. If you’re operating as a charter but sign a ticket indicating “private,” or if you’re operating an international private leg but sign a ticket that does not indicate that your next destination is international, you may have difficulty recovering any taxes charged in error later.
9. Additional resources
Plan jet fuel uplifts early and always be sure to compare “apples to apples” when evaluating competing jet fuel quotes, as some quotes may not include all applicable fees and taxes. There are often trade-offs to consider between jet fuel price and service levels. The supplier on the field with the lowest price could make you wait while scheduled commercial airlines are serviced. The supplier may require you to reposition for fuel uplift or have a fuel truck that’s too large to reach your aircraft on the general aviation (GA) parking ramp. Work with your fuel reseller and ground handler to obtain the mix of convenience, service, and price that is aligned with your operation’s goals.
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Category : Best Practice
About Vicki Matso
Vicki Matso has nearly a decade spent working in the jet fuel industry. Vicki, who joined Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. in 2007, currently serves as Senior Fuel Sales Representative for Florida with the UVair Fuel Program. An expert in all areas of fuel operations, Vicki specializes in educating air ambulance operators about the tax exemptions in place for their flights and the exemptions available for operators flying international routes in Canada. In addition to her duties covering Florida, Vicki is also responsible for assisting with Universal Fuels, which provides jet fuel for UVair clients in the commercial, government, and military segment. Vicki currently serves on the board of the South Florida Business Aviation Association and is a member of Women in Aviation and Girls with Wings. Additionally, she is in the final year of completing her bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Lynn University and is also working on earning a private pilot’s license.
Vicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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