The National Academies

ACRP 01-30 [Final]

Airport Management Guide for Providing Aircraft Fueling Services

  Project Data
Research Agency: KRAMER aerotek, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Lois Kramer
Effective Date: 10/1/2016
Completion Date: 6/30/2018

ACRP Research Report 192 is a management guide for airports that are considering or are currently self-providing fueling services directly to their customers. The guide includes a methodology to evaluate whether an airport should or should not provide fuel service, a checklist of action items required for providing fuel service, and a sample Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit bids from fuel suppliers. The management guide also addresses a wide range of topics including feasibility evaluations for new or improved fueling facilities, fuel pricing and marketing strategies, and organizational considerations when starting or expanding a fueling service. In addition, there are introductions to how aviation fuels are produced and to the components of an airport fueling system, which can be used to brief municipal decision-makers or airport employees.
The provision of fuel services used to be almost exclusively a private sector endeavor. However, the advent of more fuel-efficient aircraft and a decline in single engine piston aircraft activity has altered the dynamics and structure of the aviation fueling industry. At the time of this publication, almost half of public owned airports self-operate fueling facilities. Some airports have made a clear decision to self-operate; others needed to respond quickly to the loss of a private fixed base operator (FBO).
The management guide offers useful information about branded and unbranded fuel products, setting price, inventory controls, customer service, staffing levels, regulatory requirements, capital investment, and operating and maintenance costs associated with the fueling services.
The foundation for the management guide, under ACRP Project 01-30, was extensive research including interviews, case studies, and surveys. KRAMER aerotek, inc. served as the research agency with assistance from Kimley-Horn, Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Southern Illinois Airport Authority and Flightline FBO.
With the focus on small general aviation airports, the research team completed 16 case studies about their fueling operations. A 29-question survey captured basic information about each airport’s fueling operations. The team followed up with a telephone interview that focused on pricing practices, sales and marketing histories, and perceived trends. Participants were also asked about any lessons learned and best practices that might be useful. Write-ups of the case studies are in Appendix A.
STATUS: ACRP Research Report 192 can be found here. Appendices A through D, a Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation, “Airport Fueling Operations: Sample Annual Fuel Manager Report” are available on the TRB website. Appendix B contains Microsoft excel worksheets that users can customize are included to keep track of inventories, sales, operating expenses, and profit and loss.

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