Prior to any international trip it is recommended that operators do their due diligence in confirming that fuel will be available at each destination. If there are any questions regarding supply or fuel quality, it is best to make Plan B early.
1. Lack of fuel availability
Some locations are dependent on barges for their fuel deliveries and can experience shortages due to delayed shipments or fueling equipment failure. Advance planning is recommended if you are considering unfamiliar or remote locations in other countries. Your fuel provider should be in constant contact with their suppliers around the world on a daily basis and should be able to provide you with up-to-date information at any location you may be operating to.
2. Fuel shortages
Some airports have issues ensuring a constant and sufficient supply of fuel is available.
Authorities may limit the fuel volume an operator may uplift in during certain periods. There are many smaller locations in Africa that run out of fuel from time to time due to lack of modern infrastructure, pipelines, etc. NOTAMs mostly will be issued in case of fuel shortage.
3. Weather and fuel availability considerations
Significant weather events have the potential to knock out, or restrict, fuel supply at certain locations for a period of time. Hurricanes, typhoons, and tsunamis all have potential to cause havoc with fuel availability.
4. Fuel delivery to the airport
Aviation fuel is delivered to airports and terminals in a variety of ways. It may arrive by truck, barge, rail car, or pipeline; and, in rare cases, fuel may be flown in to a particular location. For this reason, depending on the location and method of fuel delivery, fuel costs, and lead time for fuel arrangements differ.
5. Delivery into the aircraft
Fuel trucks are the most common fuel delivery method at international locations. While single point pressure fueling is usually the norm, this is not always the case. At more remote airports in Africa, for example, you may need to fuel over-wing, and this adds time to the refueling process. A lack of single point fueling can be a concern, particularly for charter operators, on max endurance flights with crew duty day issues.
6. Sources of supply
You want to be sure you’re using an established provider that’s able to supply fuel in sufficient quantity, quality, and on a consistent basis. It’s also important, particularly for more remote airports, that the local fuel storage environment is adequate and up-to-date. When ordering fuel for delivery into your storage facility, make sure that the trucking company utilizes dedicated trailers that only haul jet fuel.