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Saving on Your Biggest Cost: Fuel Without a doubt, fuel is the single biggest direct cost you will incur when operating a business aircraft. While aviation fuel prices have dropped significantly since the price of oil peaked at just over US$147 a barrel in July 2008, they are beginning to climb again. As of 26 November 2010, aviation jet fuel prices were up 17.6% compared to a year earlier. Most oil-industry experts concur that trend is set to quicken in the medium term. The smart operators are already looking for ways to

by Dan Smith

save money on fuel wherever they can. Fuel cards are common in the business

provides operators with access to the

shops around for the best fuel prices on a



flight support services of Baseops, a

daily basis. “With the buying power of Moonjet


sister company to World Fuel Services.

behind the aircraft operator, it is possible

Even operators with just one aircraft can

to secure preferential fuel prices from



suppliers,” explains John Hewett, MoonJet’s

enables the card provider to negotiate

minimum purchase levels required. Our

Regional Manager for UK and Western

significant deals with the major aviation fuel

customers include single aircraft owners

Europe. Those savings are then passed on to

suppliers. Those savings are passed on to


the company’s clients around the world.

the cardholders in the form of discounted














flight The the

combined cardholders










fuel, and in some cases, rewards.

Enrolling in the MoonJet programme is Preferential Rates

simple says Hewett: “Anyone can take

World Fuel Services offers the AVCARD

Some flight support agents can also help

advantage of working with Moonjet. We have

which can be used to pay for both fuel and

you to obtain fuel at low prices. An example

no set minimums or contracted uplifts, the

aviation services. “We offer customers

is MoonJet, a flight support company which

customer can uplift 1 gallon or a million

global Jet A1 contract fuel rates and provide

provides operational services worldwide.

gallons, it is up to the aircraft operator. Once

a payment mechanism throughout the

The company has a number of direct supply,

a simple customer application form has

world for all aviation services,” explains

government and reseller contracts with

been completed we can arrange all aircraft



handling services, another benefit of working




Relationship Manager. An AVCARD also






MoonJet’s department

with a flight support agent.”

Fuel is the single biggest direct cost you will incur when operating a business aircraft

AvFuel branded FBO Supermarine of Little Rock



The discount MoonJet provides to its

to make a techstop at an airport with high

customers depends on a number of factors

fuel prices. Operators often coordinate

such as quantity of fuel uplifted, and the

their techstops to ensure they pick-up the

monthly volume of customer orders the

cheapest available fuel whenever possible.

company receives. “We have particularly good rates in the African and Middle Eastern

Even within a country, significant savings

regions,” says Hewett. “For example, we

can be made using tankering. The pilot

have our own governmental contract in

information website shows an

Libya which enables us to offer the best

average 30 cents/gallon (6%) difference

fuel rate of any supplier. While prices

between the price of Jet-A fuel in the

change on a weekly basis, MoonJet is able

south-west ($4.73/gallon) and the south-

to offer discounts of up to 35 cents a gallon

central ($4.43/gallon) regions of the United

in Libya. The country already has one the

States. For operators flying between states

cheapest fuel rates in the world and is

such as Texas (south-central) and California

widely used as a techstop so operators can

(south-west), tankering can make good

take advantage of the reduced fuel price.”

financial sense.

Price comparison websites such as enable operators to choose tankering locations

Tankering for Savings

Moving Target

Many operators seek to take advantage of

Of course, filling your aircraft with more

countries and regions with low-cost fuel

fuel than you actually need means it will

using an aviation industry practice known

weigh more on subsequent legs. Factor in

as tankering. It’s a little like driving your

changes to the number of passengers on

car from point A to point B, but stopping

board, weight of luggage and payload and

along the way at a petrol station you know

calculating how much fuel you can actually

will offer cheaper fuel. In aviation, you leave

uplift gets tricky. “It’s a big moving target,”

home base with just enough fuel to get you

says Tore Reimers, Founder and Chairman

to the tankering stop (taking into account

of, an online software

the route to be flown and reserves needed).

tool which can perform all the necessary

At the low-cost fuel location, a techstop is

calculations in one step. The software was

made and the aircraft is filled with low-cost

launched in September this year.

fuel. The practice avoids the aircraft having

Even within a country, significant savings can be made using tankering





a price comparison company such as Fuel

The tankering tool is integrated into

Reimers, an engineer and pilot with more

& More As EcoTankering.

Universal’s UVair ® Fueling Card which is

than 27 years experience in military,

com is accessible from any Internet-

accepted at 2,000 locations worldwide. The

commercial and test flying. “Tankering



UVair fuel rate at each handling location is

is very interesting for business aviation

continuously recalculated and the fuel load

automatically pulled into the system, making

operators as they often find it difficult to

optimised at any time. In case of changes

it easy for operators to locate savings. The

negotiate discounts due to their low volume.

to a planned flight, the tankering plan can

cost of buying fuel via the UVair Fueling

However, business jets are often lightly

be updated quickly and sent to the pilot by

Card is, on average, around 20% lower

loaded, meaning that they have spare

email, SMS or fax.

than the posted airfield rate internationally.




weight capacity to carry additional fuel.”

Operators can also manually enter their

Reimers estimates that operators can save

Profitable Uplift

between three and seven per cent on fuel

Since May this year, users of Universal

costs using the patented technology behind

Weather and Aviation, Inc’s optimised

The solution you choose for your fuel needs

online flight planning system for business

depends on a multitude of factors and

aviation, UVflightplanner.comsm, have been

there is no single option that is right for

The cost of using the service varies but is

able to perform automatic fuel tankering

everyone. Fleet location, type and size

typically around 20% of the amount saved.

calculations with every flight plan they

and the needs of your typical missions are

Fuel prices are provided and updated by

create in the system. “With just a few

just some of the considerations that will

the users or their suppliers. “For most

clicks, operators can accurately determine

influence which one you choose.

operators this is not a major problem as they

how much fuel can profitably be carried,”

often fly to the same airports regularly and

explains Randy Stephens, Senior Director,

know the fuel prices at these locations.” For

Specialty Products.

own fuel price data if needed.

a new location, Reiner recommends using

With just a few clicks, operators can accurately determine how much fuel can profitably be carried

www. Landings: Vienna

Example of interface

We Want to Hear from You If you have tips or ideas for reducing fuel costs, why not get in touch? Email us at

Business aviation facilities and services in and around Vienna.