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29/07/2019 News

How does Total Aviation’s fuel logistics crew keep their cool during high-pressure operations?

TotalEnergies Aviation aircraft fuel logistics crew


Supplying aviation fuel to countless airports across the world, Total Aviation’s fuel logistics team must tackle their fair share of high-pressure situations as they ensure the airports and airfields that use Total’s fuels can cope with demand. But what issues do they come across, and how do they make sure that aviators stay soaring?

Dealing with severe peaks in demand

Dealing with varying aviation fuel requirements is part and parcel of operating airports and strips, ensuring that spikes in demand aren’t coupled with shortages. These peaks in usage are usually due to local events – the June 24 Hours of Le Mans race, for instance, causes the nearby airport of Le Mans-Arnage to become a hub of people, equipment and vehicles, leading to monthly fuel consumption rising from 30m³ to 130m³ in just two days!

How do Total solve this jump? Well, the planning starts in May with an assessment of the event’s knock-on fuel requirements as racing teams submit their flight plans. Additional fuel is also added to this total to provide for surprise increases in fuel use. During the event, an extra team is tasked to coordinate refuelling, and multiple tankers are brought in to cope with demand – each needing to be orchestrated perfectly to ensure they don’t run out of fuel mid-fill and are being put to work at all times.

Organising dedicated marine fuel shipments 

Elba’s sole airport, Marina di Campo, comes alive between June and September as tourists descend on the picturesque Mediterranean island. Requiring an increased amount of JET A-1 fuel, extra deliveries by boat are quickly arranged by the Total Aviation team.

For AVGAS 100LL, however, shipments aren’t as simple. Given that the fuel falls under different transportation rules, Total’s team must work with their distributor in procuring a dedicated boat for the fuel truck, as safety laws state it must travel alone. Embarking at Piombino in Italy and heading for Elba’s Portoferraio, the boat must then wait until the AVGAS 100LL is fully unloaded before returning. The operation takes a whole two days, leaving no room for error!

Scaling the heights of Saint Crépin

Mont-Dauphin aerodrome, located near Saint Crépin, stretches out between the Écrins Mountains and the Queyras Natural Regional Park – the perfect location for gliding. Between May and September, gliders and towing aircraft flock to the airstrip, requiring the lion’s share of the 200m³ of JET A-1 used annually at the site. 

To make sure the seasonal demand is catered for, a tanker makes the long journey from the refinery at La Mède near Marseille to Mont-Dauphin. Perched 950 metres above sea level at the very end of a mountain road, the small aerodrome is one of the most remote and beautiful delivery locations for the Total team!

Total offer a wide range of aviation fuels and customised aeroplane fuel services designed to meet the needs of aviators and airport operators.