The term aviation fuelling includes all services related to the supply of fuel to aircraft. These range from into-plane fuelling to the operation of airport storage and hydrant systems.
As jet fuel is highly flammable and there is often only a very short time slot for fuelling, especially during stopovers and cargo flights, aviation fuelling is a highly responsible and demanding line of work.
A plane can be refuelled with a maximum of 800 liters of fuel per minute. The process is carried out either by a truck refueller or at a fuelling station by means of a dispenser. While truck refuellers (such as bowser trucks) are loaded with the jet fuel for fuelling, which they obtain from on-site airport tank terminals, a dispenser is a vehicle that pumps the required amount of fuel into the aircraft from the fuelling station’s pipeline connection via a hose. If the dispenser has no pump, the plane can also be fuelled using the forces of gravity (gravity fuelling). This involves filling the fuel into the wings from the top side, and filling the center tank by using the aircraft’s own pumps to recirculate the fuel from the two wing tanks.
Due to the risks of fire and explosion, special safety precautions must be observed during aviation fuelling. For example, aircraft may not be fuelled with the engines running, in enclosed spaces, or during thunderstorms. Throughout the fuelling operation they must also always be electrically connected with the connected fuel supply facilities, and be earthed. The safety regulations for the aviation industry are set worldwide by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Joint Inspection Group (JIG), and thus cover 93% of the international aviation world.
Status: December 2015
All information subject to change. Errors and omissions excepted.