National Academies Press: OpenBook

Overview of Airport Fueling Operations (2015)

Chapter: Summary

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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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SUMMARY Being knowledgeable about fueling operations and systems is an important factor in promoting safe fueling practices and mitigating negative outcomes. Preventing negative consequences from a fuel mishap is relevant to all sizes of airports. Of primary concern to an airport operator are the fuel pro- cesses, facilities, and equipment located within the property lines of the airport. Once fuel crosses onto airport property, its environmental safekeeping becomes the responsibility of the airport operator, no matter who is involved in the receipt, storage, or delivery of the fuel to aircraft. In many aspects of fueling, the airport operator is identified as the principal responsible party under environmental regulations because the operator owns the land upon which fueling occurs and controls the use of the land. The actual ownership of fuel facilities on airport property can vary. Airports contemplating taking over fueling operations or seeking to exercise greater safety oversight of existing operations can find the resources referenced in this report to be of value. The purpose of this report is to promote understanding of airport fueling systems. Critical con- cepts for an airport manager in managing the risks associated with fueling systems include an under- standing of the parties involved; the facilities, equipment, and main components; the regulatory and standard requirements; the available training resources; and the means to facilitate the safe operation of the airport fueling system. An additional purpose of this synthesis report is to inform readers of where to obtain information to become more knowledgeable about airport fueling systems. Fueling system operations and arrangements at all sizes of airports are addressed, with the focus on aviation turbine fuels (jet fuel) and aviation gasoline (avgas). Not discussed are fueling systems designed to serve airport vehicles, ground service equipment, or remote helicopter or off-site rural storage. Described in the report are some of the safeguards for preventing contamination, flash point spark- ing, and leakage in the fuel system. Fuel storage tanks, distribution lines, hydrant systems, and refueler trucks are some of the specialized components that make up an airport’s fuel delivery system. Each component is to be operated with utmost safety and environmental stewardship. It is the airport’s responsibility to ensure the same, no matter who owns the fueling facilities or who is involved in the delivery and handling of the fuel. Of value to airport management is an understanding of how the fuel system works and what the risks are for each type of fuel activity. Information for this synthesis was obtained primarily through a literature search and interviews with airport and fueling personnel. There is a large volume of literature related to airport fueling sys- tem design and operation. For safety and regulatory purposes, many aspects of a fuel system operation are standardized. New practices evolve slowly because of the vetting process that takes place through various national and international standards and committees. This synthesis provides a list of regula- tions, standards, suggested practices, guidelines, and training resources that can be referenced and used by airport organizations. The overall fueling process includes a number of different organizational arrangements for obtain- ing, contracting for, and delivery of fuel, along with the means by which fuel is transported from the refinery to the airport and ultimately to the aircraft. Discussed are fuel consortiums, airport-operated fueling systems, fixed-base and special aviation service providers, and corporate and private installa- tions. This report describes the different management arrangements for having fuel delivered to and on an airport, from the oil refinery to into-plane services. The information is intended to help airport managers better understand the processes involved. OVERVIEW OF AIRPORT FUELING SYSTEM OPERATIONS

2 Throughout the fuel delivery process, the goal of any fuel provider is to ensure that the cor- rect grade, type, and quantity of fuel meet applicable requirements and specifications. A company’s profitability and reduced liability exposure depend upon it, as does the safety of the pilot, crew, and passengers. This report provides an overview of the quality process and procedures but does not go into detail. Instead, reference is made to resources that provide more detailed information. Industry standards provide a number of considerations involved in the design of a fuel system. Aboveground and underground tank designs are discussed, as are loading and unloading facilities, different means of fuel delivery to the aircraft (hydrant system, fuel truck, stationary pump), and sev- eral commonly installed components (filters, hoses, and nozzles). Also discussed are fire suppression and fire safety issues, environmental regulations, and fuel safety practices. The primary risks associated with operating fuel facilities are fire, explosion, contamination, spill- age, and environmental impact. The consequences of those risks affect many areas of the airport. Risk management is covered in chapter seven of this report. The study found that airport fueling accidents and incidents are not well documented in a publicly available database. That makes it difficult to learn from the lessons of others. As reported by the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF), only refueling incidents that result in severe aircraft damage or personnel injury appear to be reported. Minor incidents often are not reported, despite anecdotal information that hundreds of incidents occur globally each day. An effort by the industry and the FAA to imple- ment safety management systems (SMS) may help to correct the gap in practice. Information on several accidents is provided in the report, as are SMS tools for helping to mitigate accidents. Individuals with responsibility for conducting airport inspections required by Part 139 may not have the in-depth knowledge of fueling operations that a specialized fueling agent, auditor, or industry expert may have. A finding of the study is that many of the standards, forms, and beneficial training courses are controlled by professional organizations or private entities that require fees or membership to receive the information. As described by study participants, the element of trust is an important aspect of a fuel delivery process. The establishment of trust between the airport operator and those who manage the fuel on the airport is necessary because of the various levels of expertise and responsibility each has. Trust begins at the negotiating table, with the establishment of a lease or right to conduct fueling operations on the airport. The trust builds through documentation and the inspection of fueling activities, and culminates in safe outcomes and customer satisfaction. A responsibility of airport management is to ensure that fuel-handling agents on the airport are well trained and follow proper procedures for the protection of persons and property. A number of most effective practices are cited in the report: • Perform a condition assessment before acquiring property and facilities, such as fuel tanks, piping, and pumping equipment. • Engage knowledgeable professional assistance in the negotiation, design, construction, and installation of fuel systems. • Adopt a standard or recommended practice to follow. • Have an operating manual that details the procedures and practices to be used on the airport by tenants and fueling agents. • Have a diagram and list of components for any fueling system on the airport. Having the dia- gram promotes understanding of how the fuel flows through the system, the location of shutoff and routing valves, the types of pumps and filters, and the capacity of each tank and pipe system. • Describe the settings of overflow protection devices and the operation of the alarm systems. • Pass fuel through a filtration system each time it is moved. • Use dedicated transport vehicles to reduce the possibility of contamination in the delivery of aviation fuel. • Work with local representatives to ensure all environmental requirements are met. • Develop airport contingency plans for the possibility of different system failures.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 63: Overview of Airport Fueling Operations explores airport fueling system operations at all sizes of airports. The report describes fueling standards and regulations, common operations and components, and serves as a reference for a number of fueling processes and procedures. On-airport fueling systems and components are the main focus of the report.

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