Business Aircraft Ops to Japan: Fuel Planning

PT 3 M minute read
Business Aircraft Ops to Japan: Fuel Planning

This is a post by author Hiroshi Higashiyama. Hiroshi is representative director for Universal Aviation Japan, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Haneda, Narita, Sapporo, and Osaka. Hiroshi is an expert on business aircraft operations in Japan and can be contacted at

This aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to Japan and continues from our last article entitled “Business Aircraft Ops to Japan: Additional Services & Security.

Whether you’re doing a quick tech stop or remaining overnight in Japan, fuel uplift services are reliable and on time. This assumes, however, that you’ve confirmed a fuel uplift appointment in advance and have fuel releases prepared. Also, ensure that proper taxes aren’t added to any international legs, but note that they are applicable for all domestic legs.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Fuel uplifts

Fuel arrangements for Japan should always be requested in advance. Once the fuel provider receives a request they’ll go to customs, prior to your arrival, to obtain a permit to ensure the fuel uplift is tax free – in cases of international flight legs. For fuel uplifts associated with domestic legs, three different types of fuel taxes apply. Be aware that major airports in Japan have multiple fuel suppliers available, but smaller domestic airports offer limited options and may only have one fuel supplier. It’s best to confirm fuel uplift appointments and to carry fuel releases when operating to Japan.

2. Interacting with your fueler

When operating to Japan it’s best to copy your fuel release to both your handler and local fuel provider. Fuel uplift is normally done just prior to departure, but uplifts on arrival or the day before departure can also be arranged. Fuel providers need to know intended volume of uplift, in order to ensure the truck has sufficient supply. Hydrant fuel for general aviation (GA) is only available at a few airports in Japan. For example, Haneda (RJTT) does not offer a GA hydrant fuel option. Be aware that some airports, notably Narita (RJAA), always require aircraft to reposition for fuel uplift.

3. Fuel pricing

Each fuel company has its own posted prices, and these are typically adjusted bi-weekly or monthly. Acceptable forms of payment include fuel carnets, credit cards, and cash. It’s always possible to arrange handler credit, with prior notice.

4. Fuel taxes

An airport facility surcharge is applicable to all fuel uplifts. Fuel taxes, however, are generally only added to domestic flight uplifts. Be aware that if you elect to temporarily import your aircraft, for the purpose of easing domestic operations, you’ll be taxed on all fuel remaining in your tanks upon arrival in Japan.

5. Fuel testing

Standard practice in Japan is to check fuel quality prior to each fuel uplift. This is a requirement imposed by airport authorities. Fuel uplift staff will show crew a fuel quality test prior to transferring fuel into the aircraft.

6. Fuel delivery

Aviation fuel in Japan is stored in airport fuel farms and is generally only available to GA via fuel trucks. Uplifts in Japan are typically efficient and on time, so long as fuel appointments have been secured. Note that at some locations – including RJAA – you’ll not be able to refuel in the parking area and must reposition. Your ground handler will advise on where fuel may be uplifted and if towing is required.

7. Additional reading: Operating to Japan – Series Index

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.


Be prepared to pay additional fuel taxes for any domestic operations you intend to make within Japan. Ensure that fuel arrangements are made in advance to avoid any delays for the flight, especially tech stops. Also, you should always carry appropriate fuel releases in the event the fueler doesn’t have that information.

Later we will discuss customs, immigration, and quarantine for Japan and how it may affect your trip.


If you have any questions about this article or operating to Japan, contact me at

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