Arranging Jet Fuel: 6 Tips for During Your Mission

PT 3 M minute read

This aviation blog post is part of a series on jet fuel issues impacting business jet operators and continues from our last post “Arranging Jet Fuel: 6 Considerations for Your Pre-trip Planning.”

Jet fuel related difficulties that operators may experience in the active trip phase include jet fuel shortages, delivery delays, particularly during peak periods, payment issues, and inaccurate charges resulting from false or missing information on a delivery ticket. Such problems are largely avoidable with adequate planning and diligent review of fuel tickets before signing. If a jet fuel related glitch should arise, work with your 3rd-party provider or local ground handler as solutions are available.

1. Using an aviation fuel card is typically better than paying with a credit card or cash

A contract fuel card (also known as a fuel carnet or aviation fuel card) is preferable in order to obtain discounted jet fuel pricing and lower the fuel cost within a flight department. At some locations, contract fuel may not be available with a fuel card and operators may be asked to pay with a major credit card unless credit can be arranged with prior notification. Cash may be required in some more remote locations. If a contract fueling card or credit card is not accepted, you may choose to tanker jet fuel or negotiate with a 3rd-party provider or ground handler to have credit extended. However, prior arrangements need to be made.

2. Always carry copies of your jet fuel releases onboard the aircraft

Keep copies of your jet fuel release onboard the aircraft. Having the jet fuel release in hand ensures the crew is aware of the supplier that should be refueling their aircraft. Another benefit is being able to provide the release to the fueler in the event the supplier loses or misplaces it. However, not all suppliers will accept a copy of the release from an operator, preferring instead to receive it directly from the contract fuel provider, so it’s best to confirm that the fuel provider has sent the release in advance.

3. Take steps to mitigate challenges you experience when trying to uplift jet fuel

Some difficulties you may experience when trying to uplift jet fuel might include fuel shortages, fuel availability, fuel strikes, and delays due to large volumes of aircraft requiring jet fuel during peak hours. Best practice to mitigate risk is to obtain updates regarding your next destination from your fuel provider. Additionally, you may also tell your 3rd-party or fuel provider to contact you in case of any impeding situations, such as strikes and fuel shortages.

Another issue that may arise is allowing a non-contracted supplier to refuel the aircraft, which could result in paying full posted airport fuel price. In order to prevent this, it is suggested that, prior to refueling, you ensure that the supplier name corresponds with what is notated on the jet fuel release.

4. Know the taxes you will pay on jet fuel

Some common charges that may be applicable to fuel uplifts are Valued Added Tax (VAT), Mineral Oil Tax (MOT), Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), Goods and Services Tax (GST), Federal Excise Tax (FET), Canadian Excise Tax (CET), airport fees, into-plane fees, carbon taxes, sales tax, and Seneam fees. Many of these taxes can vary depending on the type of flight, next destination, and if the aircraft is registered with the tax authorities in the country where the uplift is taking place.

5. Know what documents and information you need to carry to exempt jet fuel taxes

Charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators should carry copies of their Air Operator Certificate (AOC) or Air Carrier Certificate (ACC) and leave them on file at locations they frequent in order to exempt fuel taxes. Prior to refueling, show your AOC or ACC to the fueler, and verify that ‘duty free’ or ‘AOC/ACC shown’ is notated on the fuel ticket. Once a fuel ticket is signed, it is difficult to dispute the charges later.

Private non-revenue operators may be VAT-exempt in some countries if you’re operating as a business (non-leisure) flight, depending on your next destination. For these flights, providing a tax ID may assist in exempting VAT. Before signing a fuel ticket, confirm that exempted taxes have been removed (if exemption is possible), and be sure to check for the correct boxes (e.g., private business vs. private leisure). Once a fuel ticket is signed, it’s difficult to dispute the charge later.


Jet fuel issues within the international operating arena are usually avoidable. Work with your jet fuel providers and local ground handlers in advance to set up all fuel uplifts. When on location, confirm applicable jet fuel tax exemptions with the jet fuel provider before fueling begins. Also, always read fuel tickets carefully to be sure all information is correct before signing.


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