Top Considerations when Purchasing Aviation Fuel
For business aircraft operators, many considerations should be taken into account when planning for and purchasing aviation fuel. To avoid surprises, delays, and unexpected fees it is recommended to coordinate all aviation fuel arrangements in advance. It is crucial the crew is paying attention to the correct supplier and into-plane agent prior to fueling the aircraft. Signing with the correct information that fits that operation on the delivery ticket to ensure accurate billing is also crucial.
Here are some tips on purchasing aviation fuel:
1. Consider both price and service
- While best possible pricing is important, you will want a supplier that can support your type of operation
- Time constraints are important to remember for tech stops or for fuel before departure
- It is important to know where the supplier is located on the field and if they will be able to fuel the aircraft without repositioning
2. How you pay for aviation fuel impacts pricing
- Some locations prefer aviation fuel cards while others may want a fuel release and confirmation. Crew members must know their method of payment. Paying with a consumer credit card or cash will almost always mean paying posted retail price.
- Be mindful of the supplier that is fueling the aircraft. Allowing the wrong supplier to fuel the aircraft could lead to billing at a different rate. Most suppliers change on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending upon the location and region.
- For most accurate invoicing it is best to ask for a fuel price the day of the uplift.
- For more tips, see Picking Best Method for Purchasing Jet Fuel, Part 1 and Part 2, by Allie Truesdell.
3. Be sure the fuel delivery ticket is correct before signing
- If applicable to your operation, the crew must ensure all relevant documents are shown prior to fueling, and noted “shown” on the delivery ticket, to ensure correct billing. For example, business, leisure, or commercial must be noted, as should the next destination of travel.
- In some cases, fuel tickets may not be in English; your supervisory agent and/or ground handler should be able to assist you here. If you have questions, ask for clarification before signing.
- Always keep a copy of the fuel ticket for your records in case there is a question in the future on what was authorized. There are only two copies of the delivery ticket. The supplier keeps a copy and the crew receives a copy.
4. Be aware of all fees and taxes
- Aviation fuel quotes may or may not include all applicable fees and taxes, so keep this in mind when comparing quotes. For more tips on comparing quotes, read FAQs When Obtaining Jet Fuel Quotes by Vicki Matso.
- If the crew allows the fueler to complete the fuel ticket with incorrect information and the crew signs for it, you may not be able to correct it later if not done at the time of fueling
- In some regions of the world, the fuel held on board could be taxed. In other parts of the world, domestic or within country flights will be charged higher taxes on fuel, so it is best to avoid domestic fuel in those regions.
5. Charter operators should confirm that Air Operator Certificate (AOC) is shown to the fueler
All relevant documentations must be shown prior to fueling and noted on the delivery ticket in order to obtain exemptions, but this may not be guaranteed based on the regulations stipulated for that country.
6. Beware of aviation fuel shortages at some destinations
Confirm if there are aviation fuel shortages or volume requirements needed with your supplier through your preferred fuel reseller. Tanker fuel or fueling on arrival would need to be considered ahead of time to avoid issues or additional cost to your flight.
7. Monitor the fueling process carefully
- If you are unsure of fuel quality at a particular location, request fuel testing in advance
- Fuel volumes can be noted on the delivery ticket incorrectly if there is a language barrier, so be present and mindful of what you are signing and authorizing
- De-fueling can be a complex process and may delay your operation
- Indicating required fuel volume on a fuel release is good practice
- Have the ground handler assist with any questions the crew might have
8. Adequate pre-planning will help avoid aviation fuel and fuel price issues
- Advance notice is recommended when requesting aviation fuel, specifically after hours or in remote areas
- Confirm fuel delivery times with your fuel reseller and/or ground handler
- If the correct information is not provided, you may encounter delays or additional charges
- Any special aircraft parking locations or fuel handling notes should be indicated on your confirmation and communicated with your ground handler for coordination
Plan your fueling requirements ahead, confirm all is in place, and update your ground handler for assistance. Ensure the fuel ticket has been completed correctly, apply any additional notations needed pertaining to documents shown, and keep a copy for your records.
If you have any questions about this article, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.