Aviation Fuel Terms Used during a Business Aviation Trip

PT 5 M minute read

This post continues from our previous post, entitled: Aviation Fuel Terms Used in Planning a Business Aviation Trip.

During an active trip phase, you’ll want to avoid fuel uplift delays and issues by being as prepared as possible. To do that, it’s important to be aware of all fuel-related terminology and any local issues or procedural differences at international locations. Minimizing the possibility of fueling delays is best achieved by re-confirming fuel uplifts, knowing where you’ll be fueled on the field, and having correct documentation ready. Working with your 3rd-party provider and local ground handler will help ensure the best fuel uplift experience in terms of pricing, on-time delivery, and related services.

1. Know common aviation fuel uplift terminology

Aviation Fuel Card
Card issued by an aviation fuel program, presented by the cardholder at the point-of-sale to the fuel agent. Some cards are used to make payment, while others are used to claim a price reduction or confirm fuel program membership, depending on the program.

Aviation Fuel Card Program
Aviation fuel card programs vary greatly, but the common value among them is the offering of consistent, reliable vendor services and reduced pricing over standard, posted fuel prices through a pre-negotiated supplier network (e.g., fixed base operators [FBOs] and other fuel suppliers).

Contract Fuel Program
Quality fuel pricing programs to help aircraft operators reduce operating costs, mostly utilized when traveling away from home base. Contract fuel programs offer lower than retail fuel pricing to the operator, as well as value back to the participating member FBO or ground handler, through marketing and services communicated to an expanded member customer base that participates in such programs.

A buyer may request a seller to remove fuel from a buyer’s aircraft. The fuel is disposed of or stored as agreed between the parties at the buyer’s sole cost and expense. The seller may charge an extra fee for such services and associated clean-up costs.

Fuel Agent
A supplier employee that provides/supervises fueling services to customers’ aircraft.

Fuel Estimate
The calculated approximation of the fuel prices for a location, supplier, and gallon quantity, which is usable even if input data may be incomplete or uncertain. An estimate is a close approximation of the actual, but is not intended to be used for invoicing.

Fuel Farm
A location where aviation fuel is stored prior to being discharged into aircraft fuel tanks. A tanker or hydrant system transports the aviation fuel from the depot to the aircraft.

Fuel Hydrant
Aircraft refuelers can be either a self-contained fuel truck, or a hydrant truck or cart. A hydrant system may be available at some airports where the aircraft hooks directly into a central pipeline network that provides fuel to the aircraft. There is a significant advantage with hydrant systems when compared to fuel trucks, as trucks must be periodically replenished and hydrant fuel is known to be cheaper. However, wait time to fuel the aircraft is generally much greater and increases risks of towing and repositioning of the aircraft to obtain less-expensive fuel.

Fuel Quote
A contractual agreement between fuel reseller and the client. It is the anticipated value of the fuel prices, including taxes and fees, for a location, supplier, and gallon quantity, but may vary depending on the fuel reseller. A quote is intended to be used for invoicing or billing.

Fuel Truck
Self-contained vehicles, typically containing up to 10,000 U.S. gallons of fuel, that have their own pumps, filters, hoses, and other equipment.

Fuel Uplift
The action of transferring fuel from a truck or hydrant into an aircraft by an approved “into-plane” agent at an airport. See Into Plane Delivery note.

Any material that can be used to generate energy to produce mechanical work in a controlled manner. For the purposes of this document, Fuel refers to Aviation Fuel.

Fuel Incidents
Any deviation from a normal fueling or into-plane operation.

International Air Transport Association, an international trade organization representing the airline industry. It has developed commercial standards for fuel invoicing, among others, to simplify the process for efficiency. The IATA airport code uses a 3-letter code designating each airport around the world based on phonics. (For example, Charles de Gaulle’s IATA Code CDG.)

International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations, codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation. The ICAO airport code uses a 4-letter code designating each airport around the world based on location. (For example, Charles de Gaulle’s ICAO Code LFPG.)

Into Plane Delivery
The actual operation of dispersing fuel by the seller into a buyer’s aircraft tanks.

Into Plane Agent
Person or organization performing the fuel uplift operation.

Overwing Fueling
Overwing fueling, also known as a gravity fuel port, is used on many different aircraft types. Overwing fueling is similar to car fuelling — one or more fuel ports are opened and fuel is pumped in with a conventional pump.

Off-Specification Fuel
Fuel found not to be in accordance with the relevant quality specifications set forth in the agreements.

A fuel shortage may occur because a seller does not have sufficient fuel to meet the requirements of all its customers. An allocation may be used by the seller to meet demand.

Single-Point Fueling
Single-point fueling is used on larger aircraft and for jet fuel exclusively. For single-point fuelling, a high-pressure hose is attached and fuel is pumped in at min. 40 PSI and a max. of 45 PSI.

Uplift Ticket
A document accurately and clearly stating the date of receipt, time, registry number of aircraft, flight number, aircraft type, product description, meter readings, and quantity delivered in accordance with Seller’s normal practices, or any additional information the parties may agree upon.

2. Aviation fuel types vary, so it’s important to know what will and will not work for your particular aircraft

A high-octane fuel used for aircraft and racing cars. The term Avgas is a portmanteau for aviation gasoline, as distinguished from mogas (motor gasoline), which is the everyday petroleum spirit used in cars. Avgas is typically used in aircraft that use reciprocating engines. Avgas is treated with blue dye and dispensed from nozzles with a diameter of 40 millimeters (49 millimeters in the USA). The aperture on fuel tanks of piston-engine aircraft cannot be greater than 60 millimeters in diameter.

Aviation Biofuel
Aviation biofuel is used for aircraft. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) supports research, development, and deployment of algae fuels. IATA’s goal is for its members to be using 10% alternative fuels by 2017.

Jet A
A fuel based on unleaded paraffin oil (Jet A-1). It is similar to diesel fuel, and can be used in either compression ignition engines or turbine engines. Jet Fuel is clear to straw in color and is normally used in the U.S.

Jet A-1
A kerosene grade of jet fuel, widely available worldwide, with the exception of a few countries that utilize other types of fuel such as TS-1 or JP-8. Jet A-1 is suitable for most turbine-engine aircraft, has the same flash point minimum as Jet A (38°C), but a freeze point maximum of -47°C.

Jet B
A jet fuel in the naphtha-kerosene region that is used for its enhanced cold-weather performance. However, Jet B’s lighter composition makes it more dangerous to handle. For this reason it is rarely used, except in very cold climates. It is similar to diesel fuel, has a clear to straw color, and can be used in either compression ignition engines or turbine engines.

A kerosene-based jet fuel that has slightly higher volatility (flash point is 28°C minimum) and a lower freeze point (<-50°C) than Jet A-1. TS-1 is the most common jet fuel grade available in the Russian and CIS states.

A kerosene-based jet fuel specified and used widely by the U.S. military. It is similar to commercial and business aviation’s Jet-A. It was first introduced at NATO bases in 1978, and its NATO code is F-34. JP-8 is specified by MIL-DTL-83133 and British Defense Standard 91-87. It is projected that JP-8 will remain in use until at least 2025.

3. Certain fuel additives may not be available at international locations

The air inside your fuel tanks contains moisture. This moisture has the potential to turn to ice during flight operation or even on the ground. An anti-icing additive helps eliminate this problem and gives added security in case of fuel heater system breakdown.

The formation of water inside a tank creates an environment that allows the growth of bacteria and fungi. Left unchecked, this growth can pose a serious danger to aircraft and passengers. An active biocide/fungicide additive is designed to prevent such growth and dangers occurring. This feature is particularly valuable for aircraft operating in humid conditions.

4. Understanding local fuel taxes gives you options in terms of minimizing or reclaiming these costs while remaining in compliance with all local regulations

City Tax
A Sales or Excise Tax where the jurisdiction is the city.

County Tax
A Sales Tax where the jurisdiction is the county or province.

Diesel Motor Tax
See Motor Fuel Tax.

The European Union value added tax (“EU VAT”) is a tax encompassing member states in the European Union VAT Area. Joining in this is compulsory for member states of the European Union. As a consumption tax, the EU VAT taxes the consumption of goods and services in the EU VAT area. The EU VAT’s key issue asks where the supply and consumption occurs thereby determining which member state will collect the VAT and what rate will be charged. We previously discussed EU VAT Exemptions on Jet Fuel and VAT Recovery.

Federal Excise Taxes (or Excise Duty)
Also known as Mineral Oil Tax and TIPP, these are taxes/duties charged in a number of EU member states as well as by other non-EU member states on all non-commercial (for reward) flights. The charges range from 1.30 to 3.50 USD per USG and are VAT chargeable for all operators who are not exempt from VAT. We previously discussed MOT Exemptions on Jet Fuel and VAT Recovery.

The GST is a Goods and Services Tax, similar to the Value Added Tax. We previously discussed GST Recovery.

Harmonized Sales Tax, or blended combination of the PST and GST, is a Canadian tax similar to the Value Added Tax. We previously discussed HST Recovery.

Provincial Sales Taxes , levied by the Canadian provinces are similar to the Value Added Tax.

Motor Fuel Tax
(Also known as a petrol, mineral oil, gasoline or gas tax, or as a fuel duty.) An excise tax imposed on the sale of fuel. In most countries the fuel tax is imposed on fuels which are intended for transportation. Fuels used to power agricultural vehicles, and/or home heating oil, which is similar to diesel, are taxed at a different, usually lower, rate. In the United States, the fuel tax receipts are often dedicated or hypothecated to transportation projects so that the fuel tax is considered by many a user fee. In other countries, the fuel tax is a source of general revenue.

Pollutant Tax
Also known as an Ecotax (short for Ecological taxation). An Ecotax refers to taxes intended to promote ecologically sustainable activities via economic incentives. Such a policy can complement or avert the need for regulatory (command and control) approaches. Often, an Ecotax policy proposal will attempt to maintain overall tax revenue by proportionately reducing other taxes (e.g. taxes on human labor and renewable resources); such proposals are known as a green tax shift towards ecological taxation.

Taxes that must be pre-paid at the time of delivery rather than on a periodic basis.

Sales Tax
A consumption tax charged at the point of purchase for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale. A portion of the sale may be exempt from the calculation of tax, because sales tax laws usually contain a list of exemptions. Laws governing the tax may require it to be included in the price (tax-inclusive) or added to the price at the point of sale.

5. Know what fuel fees you’ll be subject to at given locations

Airport Fees
Fees paid to the airport for use.

Airport Hydrant Fee
Fees paid to take fuel from the hydrant rather than a truck. Requires aircraft to reposition and increases on-ground complexities; such risk may require additional fees for aircraft to be towed to hydrant.

Cleanup Fees
Fees charged to aviation to cover the airport’s portion of the cleanup from ground contamination. Fees are typically fixed.

Defueling Fees
Fees charged to remove fuel from an aircraft.

Environment Fees
Fees established to partially fund compliance programs that improve air quality, reduce storm water pollution, and ensure compliance with other public health related programs. Fees are typically fixed.

Inspection Fees
Fixed fees paid for certifications of specific requirements.

Into Plane Fees
Fixed fees paid to the supplier to load fuel into an aircraft.

Oil Spill Fees
See Cleanup Fees.

Overtime (Out of Shift) Fees
Fees paid due to the time of the fueling.

Storage Fees
A storage fee provides revenues for programs designed to expedite the cleanup of leaking underground petroleum storage tanks. The fee applies to certain petroleum products placed into underground storage tanks, including aviation fuel. The fee is based on a rate per gallon.


There are important active trip considerations to keep in mind when operating domestically or internationally. Be sure to confirm required fuel quantity and ensure that the fuel truck meeting your flight has sufficient fuel volume available. Defueling, when needed, can cause significant delays. Also, make it a point to read fuel tickets carefully before signing. This helps avoid the possibility of fuel taxes being included that should not have been applied.


If you have any questions about this article, contact me at victoriamatso@univ-wea.com.

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