Business Aircraft Ops to India: Fueling and Security
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in India and continues from our last article: “Business Aircraft Ops to India: Additional Services & Operating Costs.”
When you operate to India, fuel uplifts are usually reliable, on time, and competitive at most larger airports. At smaller airfields, however, you may have access to just a single fuel supplier, and advance arrangement of uplift and fuel credit often becomes a more important consideration.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Fuel uplifts
Most airports in India have fuel available either by hydrant or fuel trucks. It’s common for major airports to offer both hydrant and fuel truck options 24/7, while smaller airfields have fuel trucks available during airport operating hours.
2. Fuel vendor options
Major airports of entry in India usually have three different fuel vendors available on the field while smaller airports may offer two, and in some cases one, fuel option.
3. Fuel pricing and credit
Prices are based per liter and normally adjusted every 15 days. The price you pay will be the cost of fuel plus any additional taxes; there are no “into-plane” fees added in India. Accepted forms of payment include fuel carnets (you need to show your fueling card), a fuel release (must be shown to the fuel provider), or USD cash. Note that consumer credit cards are not accepted for fuel payment in India. Your ground handler can extend credit for a fuel uplift but only if he or she has made a pre-payment to the fuel supplier in advance.
4. Fuel tax considerations
If you plan to make more than one stop in India, be aware that you’ll be charged tax on all fuel remaining onboard upon arrival in country. Customs will send an agent out to your aircraft to determine volume of fuel onboard, and taxes due will be calculated. When you make more than one stop in India, it’s recommended to land with minimum fuel as fuel taxes on arrival can be significant. Note that theses fuel taxes do not apply when you make just one stop – for either destination or tech stop purposes – in India.
5. Storage, testing, and fuel delivery
Fuel is stored in underground tanks for hydrant fuel purposes and in fuel farms for fuel truck deliveries at smaller airports. Prior to each fuel delivery, the fueler tests the fuel and provides the fuel quality check to the crew. Note that at larger airports there are specific ramp areas where hydrant fuel is available. For example at New Delhi (VIDP) there is a fuel apron available, and aircraft may either power in or be towed to this location. For parking spots without access to hydrant fuel, or at smaller airfields, fuel trucks will come out to your aircraft.
6. Tech stops
Quick-turn tech stops are usually a fast and efficient process in India. Turn times for fuel uplift are typically 45-60 minutes, depending on your type of aircraft and fuel volume required. At some airports turn times are even less than 45 minutes. Parking at many airports in India is power-in and push-back – so towbars are normally needed. In the case of quick-turn tech stops, however, you’ll usually be given a power-in/power-out parking stand.
7. VVIP fuel considerations
Special fuel arrangements are made in the case of VVIP flights, such as those of a president, king, or prime minister. Fuel will be tested in advance, and the tank will be sealed until time of fuel uplift. If you’re operating a VVIP flight, it’s important that both your handler and the airport police are aware of these arrangements.
8. Airport security in India
Airports in India maintain adequate levels of security, and security has been considerably boosted over the past five years. Major airports are secured by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) with armed personnel, surveillance cameras, and regular patrols. Note, however, that at smaller or remote airfields, airports may be secured by police rather than CISF. All airports in India have adequate perimeter fencing as well as proper airside access controls.
9. Aircraft security
If you wish to have a private guard for your aircraft, arrangements can be made via your ground handler. Normally, only unarmed options are possible. If you prefer to have an armed guard airside, this must be requested from CISF with approval/disapproval at their authorities’ discretion.
10. Airside access
After your aircraft has been shut down, the aircraft doors will be sealed with tape, and returning to your aircraft will be difficult prior to day of departure. Should you need to return to your aircraft early, perhaps to pick up a favorite pair of sunglasses, a letter must be sent to CISF explaining the reason, and it may take a couple of hours to arrange access to the aircraft. For this reason it’s important to ensure you have everything you need prior to leaving the aircraft.
11. Security screening
Upon arrival in India, crew members and passengers will go through metal detector screening while luggage is screened by X-ray. A similar security screening process takes place pre-departure. For tech stop purposes, no security screening or CIQ clearance procedures are required so long as no passengers/crew members are disembarking/embarking.
12. Off-airport security
Personal security for passengers and crew members is not usually needed or recommended in India. Arrangements for personal security, however, can be made by your 3rd-party provider or ground handler with advance notification. For local transport within India, prepaid options (car with driver) are recommended. Your ground handler can set this up and vet quality of service, vehicle standards, etc.
13. Additional reading: Business Aircraft Ops to India – Series Index
Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.
- Part 1 – Airport options
- Part 2 – Airport operations
- Part 3 – Ground handling
- Part 4 – Additional services and operating costs
- Part 5 – Fuel and security
- Part 6 – CIQ
- Part 7 – Permit considerations
- Part 8 – Slots and military operations
- Part 9 – Flight planning
- Part 10 – Weather and additional flight planning information
- Part 11 – Hotel and local area
Fuel arrangements are available in most airports in the country, and services are becoming more efficient. This reduces turnaround time for your flight, especially for tech stops. Note that Indian authorities have been increasing security measures for their airports. They are especially strict regarding access to the aircraft after it’s been sealed, so it’s best to ensure that all items needed have been removed prior to leaving the aircraft.
Later, we’ll discuss customs, immigration, and quarantine for India and their impact on your trip.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to India, contact Christine Vamvakas at firstname.lastname@example.org.