How-To: Requesting Jet Fuel Quotes – Part 1: Know the Basics
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on requesting fuel quotes.
Jet fuel uplifts remain one of the most significant opportunities for business aircraft operators to save on overall flight department costs. To take advantage of these savings, however, it’s important to source and compare jet fuel quotes for every destination and to ensure that fuel quotes received are applicable to your particular type of operation.
The following is an overview of what you need to know when requesting jet fuel quotes:
1. Jet fuel quotes have become more complex
Over recent years international operations have become more complex in regards to jet fuel pricing, contract fuel options, regulations, and taxes. Fuel quotes today are more detailed than in the past in terms of the level of information operators are looking for: hook-up fees, into-plane fees, taxes (VAT, MOT, local, etc.), base fuel price, and tax exemptions, to name a few. Not all fuel providers may offer the same level of information on their quotes. Missing or incorrect information can radically change the cost and outcome of a fuel uplift.
2. Operators are more cost-conscious today
Since the 2007/2008 recession, general aviation users have greater focus on reducing operating costs. Today’s business aircraft operators are savvier in terms of overall fuel cost management, and they’re demanding jet fuel quotes that are more detailed and accurate than they used to be. Some flight departments have fuel purchasing managers who are dedicated to purchasing fuel on an uplift-by-uplift basis. There’s also been a rise in 3rd-party fuel management providers who shop for fuel on behalf of the operator. Such providers can drive down overall fuel costs dramatically. Still, there are many operators who do not take advantage of best available pricing on a routine basis.
3. Reducing jet fuel costs
These days, operators often carry three or four different aviation fuel cards in order to consistently access the best contract fuel pricing. Carrying more aviation fuel cards than this may be counter-productive, as there may be administrative costs to consider in terms of your own time and/or costs from a 3rd-party fuel management company. If you are outsourcing to a 3rd-party fuel management company, ensure that you have trust in that company and have checked their references and verified their integrity/impartiality.
4. Know what to ask when requesting a fuel quote
A fuel quote should include base price (per gallon or liter) and VAT/MOT and other taxes applicable to your type of operation, as well as assorted airport fees, including into-place fees, hook-up fees, hydrant fees, surcharges for smaller quantity uplifts, and overtime or late-night surcharges. When requesting jet fuel quotes, always specify the airport name, uplift amount, name of supplier, name of ground handler, payment method, and your type of flight.
5. Book and confirm fuel uplifts in advance
Avoid potential day-of-operation issues by ensuring that all fuel uplift arrangements, with suppliers of your choice, are confirmed in advance. Aviation fuel cards (often called “fuel carnets”) still offer a high level of convenience, but it is better not to show up on the far side of the world with just an aviation fuel card without pre-arrangement.
Be aware that some airports are busy and prone to fuel delivery delays, while others may run low on fuel or ration fuel quantity from time to time. Having a hard copy of a fuel release is essential at many locations and good practice at others. Nice (LFMN) often runs out of fuel later into the weekends, and you’ll need to be diligent in confirming your requested uplift. The reason for these weekend fuel shortages at LFMN is that all fuel is delivered to the airport via truck (road), and these fuel trucks are not permitted to transfer product on the public roads after a certain time on Saturday.
6. Specify fuel quantity
There are locations where you’ll need to specify the quantity of fuel you require for uplifts. In some cases volume requirements apply to all fuel uplifts at a particular airport. In other cases, quantity requirements are specified by individual suppliers.
7. Online fuel quotes
Online fuel quotes are a valuable resource, but sometimes it’s best to speak to someone who understands your operation and can explain a fuel quote in detail. Some online quotes do not always include all applicable fees/taxes relevant to your particular flight, so speaking with your dedicated fuel representative will give you the full picture.
8. A checklist can help
Jet Fuel Quote Checklist – like the one you can download here – can provide you with an outline of the information your fuel provider will need from you in order to give you a price estimate. Additionally, it outlines the information you should receive from the fuel provider – such as associated fees, taxes, etc. – which you can use to help identify if you are truly receiving an all-inclusive price estimate from the supplier/reseller.
And always remember…
Always consider the balance between service and price. Sourcing the lowest price at a particular destination will be no bargain if the end result is a delayed operation.
If you have any questions about this article or would like more information about fuel quotes, contact Christine Vamvakas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers tax, documentation requirements, and tips for requesting fuel quotes.