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WanderLust744
Topic Author
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:21 pm

### Refueling wide bodies

Since some large aircraft can take up to 200 tons of fuel, how is that accomplished? Does a fuel truck(which I assume can't carry more than maybe 30 tons of fuel) make 5-6 visits to the fuel silo(is this the correct term?) and back to the aircraft? Or do they send 6 trucks at once? How long does it take, and is it usually done by the time pilots board(before a very long range flight with almost full tanks)

johns624
Posts: 3778
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

DTW has an underground fuel delivery system.

GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 7815
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

All hydrants at most any airport where you’ll find wide bodies. Saudi had some awesome trucks during Desert Storm. They could put 200,000# on a C-5 in no time.

Starlionblue
Posts: 20698
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

WanderLust744 wrote:
Since some large aircraft can take up to 200 tons of fuel, how is that accomplished? Does a fuel truck(which I assume can't carry more than maybe 30 tons of fuel) make 5-6 visits to the fuel silo(is this the correct term?) and back to the aircraft? Or do they send 6 trucks at once? How long does it take, and is it usually done by the time pilots board(before a very long range flight with almost full tanks)

As mentioned by johns624, typically there's an underground fuel delivery system. The fuel truck plugs one end into the fuel pipeline, and the other into the aircraft.

If there is no underground delivery, it can be multiple trucks, not just one.

It normally takes 30-40 minutes to uplift fuel for a long flight.

200 tonnes would be an unusually large amount. Around 250000 liters. If you use two fueling trucks, the rate is maybe 2000-2500 liters a minute. So 200 tonnes would take maybe 90 minutes in total. But again, uplifting 200 tonnes would not be common. Even a 777 going 19 hours would not need that much.

We get to the plane 45-50 minutes before the flight. Airports where fueling takes more time (large uplift or fuel trucks) normally have a process in place whereby station staff communicates the standby fuel figure to the fuelers before we get there, so fueling is typically already in progress when we arrive.

We have to make a final fuel decision based on the final weight, so fueling won't be done until we get that around 30 minutes before off blocks time. When we get to the aircraft, we give the fuelers a standby fuel figure, which will be a few tonnes under the expected total. This is based on the preliminary zero fuel weight.

Once the standby fuel figure has been reached in the tanks, there might be a pause in fueling. Once we get the final zero fuel weight, we can calculate the final fuel figure. We give that to the fuel guy and the fueling is completed. It's a quick process since it is only a few tonnes at most. The fuel receipt is then passed to us for double-checking of the numbers (this process is electronic in some places).

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

Woodreau
Posts: 2078
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Wait until you have to refuel a ship - pulling into the banana ports of Central America to refuel by tanker truck, they were lined up one-by-one from the pier all the way out of the port. - took two days to take all of the fuel from the line of 50 tanker trucks. 250,000 gallons / 950,000 liters / 1,675,000 lbs of fuel that would normally be done by at-sea refuelling from an alongside oiler in about 3 hours.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.

Posts: 199
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:37 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Semi-related question: Does every airport have a direct pipeline to a regional storage facility/refinery for Jet A for their on-site fuel farms for the hydrants?
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GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 7815
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Airline served ones, mostly yes.

zeke
Posts: 16119
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Semi-related question: Does every airport have a direct pipeline to a regional storage facility/refinery for Jet A for their on-site fuel farms for the hydrants?

Fun fact since ww2 the UK has had an interconnecting network of underground fuel lines to military and civil airports.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949

AECM
Posts: 360
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:52 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Semi-related question: Does every airport have a direct pipeline to a regional storage facility/refinery for Jet A for their on-site fuel farms for the hydrants?

In Portugal, OPO has a direct pipeline between the airport fuel tanks and a refinery nearby. The other national airports are supplied by truck.

Ollie129
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:12 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

zeke wrote:
Semi-related question: Does every airport have a direct pipeline to a regional storage facility/refinery for Jet A for their on-site fuel farms for the hydrants?

Fun fact since ww2 the UK has had an interconnecting network of underground fuel lines to military and civil airports.

Although, not all of them are connected, I know of at least one near me which receives Jet fuel by train.

Trimeresurus
Posts: 118
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:06 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Starlionblue wrote:
WanderLust744 wrote:
Since some large aircraft can take up to 200 tons of fuel, how is that accomplished? Does a fuel truck(which I assume can't carry more than maybe 30 tons of fuel) make 5-6 visits to the fuel silo(is this the correct term?) and back to the aircraft? Or do they send 6 trucks at once? How long does it take, and is it usually done by the time pilots board(before a very long range flight with almost full tanks)

As mentioned by johns624, typically there's an underground fuel delivery system. The fuel truck plugs one end into the fuel pipeline, and the other into the aircraft.

If there is no underground delivery, it can be multiple trucks, not just one.

It normally takes 30-40 minutes to uplift fuel for a long flight.

200 tonnes would be an unusually large amount. Around 250000 liters. If you use two fueling trucks, the rate is maybe 2000-2500 liters a minute. So 200 tonnes would take maybe 90 minutes in total. But again, uplifting 200 tonnes would not be common. Even a 777 going 19 hours would not need that much.

We get to the plane 45-50 minutes before the flight. Airports where fueling takes more time (large uplift or fuel trucks) normally have a process in place whereby station staff communicates the standby fuel figure to the fuelers before we get there, so fueling is typically already in progress when we arrive.

We have to make a final fuel decision based on the final weight, so fueling won't be done until we get that around 30 minutes before off blocks time. When we get to the aircraft, we give the fuelers a standby fuel figure, which will be a few tonnes under the expected total. This is based on the preliminary zero fuel weight.

Once the standby fuel figure has been reached in the tanks, there might be a pause in fueling. Once we get the final zero fuel weight, we can calculate the final fuel figure. We give that to the fuel guy and the fueling is completed. It's a quick process since it is only a few tonnes at most. The fuel receipt is then passed to us for double-checking of the numbers (this process is electronic in some places).

Why does the truck have to act as a middle-man if there are fuel storage tanks underground? Surely they could build compressors/pumps at the gate too. And most fuel trucks I see at airports have tanker trailers behind them, implying they also carry fuel, rather than just be a broker of it.

GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 7815
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Yes, many airports aren5 on the pipeline or hydrant system, so you have traditional tankers. Also, while some gates might have access to the hydrant system other ramps or gates don’t. That’s not uncommon. It’s an expensive proposition to install the underground hydrant system, so there’s a fuel farm to supply the trucks.

Posts: 199
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:37 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Trimeresurus wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
WanderLust744 wrote:
Since some large aircraft can take up to 200 tons of fuel, how is that accomplished? Does a fuel truck(which I assume can't carry more than maybe 30 tons of fuel) make 5-6 visits to the fuel silo(is this the correct term?) and back to the aircraft? Or do they send 6 trucks at once? How long does it take, and is it usually done by the time pilots board(before a very long range flight with almost full tanks)

As mentioned by johns624, typically there's an underground fuel delivery system. The fuel truck plugs one end into the fuel pipeline, and the other into the aircraft.

If there is no underground delivery, it can be multiple trucks, not just one.

It normally takes 30-40 minutes to uplift fuel for a long flight.

200 tonnes would be an unusually large amount. Around 250000 liters. If you use two fueling trucks, the rate is maybe 2000-2500 liters a minute. So 200 tonnes would take maybe 90 minutes in total. But again, uplifting 200 tonnes would not be common. Even a 777 going 19 hours would not need that much.

We get to the plane 45-50 minutes before the flight. Airports where fueling takes more time (large uplift or fuel trucks) normally have a process in place whereby station staff communicates the standby fuel figure to the fuelers before we get there, so fueling is typically already in progress when we arrive.

We have to make a final fuel decision based on the final weight, so fueling won't be done until we get that around 30 minutes before off blocks time. When we get to the aircraft, we give the fuelers a standby fuel figure, which will be a few tonnes under the expected total. This is based on the preliminary zero fuel weight.

Once the standby fuel figure has been reached in the tanks, there might be a pause in fueling. Once we get the final zero fuel weight, we can calculate the final fuel figure. We give that to the fuel guy and the fueling is completed. It's a quick process since it is only a few tonnes at most. The fuel receipt is then passed to us for double-checking of the numbers (this process is electronic in some places).

Why does the truck have to act as a middle-man if there are fuel storage tanks underground? Surely they could build compressors/pumps at the gate too. And most fuel trucks I see at airports have tanker trailers behind them, implying they also carry fuel, rather than just be a broker of it.

Some airports, like PHX, have fairly stationary "mobile" fuel pump units at each gate:

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mxaxai
Posts: 2649
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Semi-related question: Does every airport have a direct pipeline to a regional storage facility/refinery for Jet A for their on-site fuel farms for the hydrants?

No, many are supplied by trucks or, sometimes, trains. A pipeline often isn't worth the money for small or medium sized airports (<15 million passengers anually).

e38
Posts: 859
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Quoting Trimeresurus (Reply # 11), "Why does the truck have to act as a middle-man if there are fuel storage tanks underground?"

Because not every airport has the same type of equipment needed to refuel aircraft, nor is every gate at every airport equipped with underground fuel storage.

e38

Starlionblue
Posts: 20698
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Trimeresurus wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
WanderLust744 wrote:
Since some large aircraft can take up to 200 tons of fuel, how is that accomplished? Does a fuel truck(which I assume can't carry more than maybe 30 tons of fuel) make 5-6 visits to the fuel silo(is this the correct term?) and back to the aircraft? Or do they send 6 trucks at once? How long does it take, and is it usually done by the time pilots board(before a very long range flight with almost full tanks)

As mentioned by johns624, typically there's an underground fuel delivery system. The fuel truck plugs one end into the fuel pipeline, and the other into the aircraft.

If there is no underground delivery, it can be multiple trucks, not just one.

It normally takes 30-40 minutes to uplift fuel for a long flight.

200 tonnes would be an unusually large amount. Around 250000 liters. If you use two fueling trucks, the rate is maybe 2000-2500 liters a minute. So 200 tonnes would take maybe 90 minutes in total. But again, uplifting 200 tonnes would not be common. Even a 777 going 19 hours would not need that much.

We get to the plane 45-50 minutes before the flight. Airports where fueling takes more time (large uplift or fuel trucks) normally have a process in place whereby station staff communicates the standby fuel figure to the fuelers before we get there, so fueling is typically already in progress when we arrive.

We have to make a final fuel decision based on the final weight, so fueling won't be done until we get that around 30 minutes before off blocks time. When we get to the aircraft, we give the fuelers a standby fuel figure, which will be a few tonnes under the expected total. This is based on the preliminary zero fuel weight.

Once the standby fuel figure has been reached in the tanks, there might be a pause in fueling. Once we get the final zero fuel weight, we can calculate the final fuel figure. We give that to the fuel guy and the fueling is completed. It's a quick process since it is only a few tonnes at most. The fuel receipt is then passed to us for double-checking of the numbers (this process is electronic in some places).

Why does the truck have to act as a middle-man if there are fuel storage tanks underground? Surely they could build compressors/pumps at the gate too. And most fuel trucks I see at airports have tanker trailers behind them, implying they also carry fuel, rather than just be a broker of it.

Building a pump at every gate is an expensive proposition, especially as they won't be used much of the time. Maintenance, electrics, etc. Much more complex than just a well. Using trucks means only investing in the necessary capacity.

I can only speak from my own experience but most fuel trucks I see at airports don't have a tanker trailer.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

IFlyVeryLittle
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:31 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 7815
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

Oh yes. I flew two months of late night EWR-BOS flights, regularly with near max fuel to avoid paying the Massachusetts fuel taxes on airlines. About 45,000# ex-EWR on a 40 minute flight. Even in corporate flying, we used about four fueling contractors for best price—World Fuel, Colt, UVAir and another one I forgot.

fr8mech
Posts: 8215
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

Major airlines have people...really software, now, I guess, whose job it is to decide whether it’s more cost efficient...or sometimes, schedule/marketing efficient, to tanker fuel through or load it at a particular airport.
When seconds count, the police are minutes away, or may not come at all.
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Starlionblue
Posts: 20698
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

Not only that, they buy large amounts of fuel futures in order to decrease exposure to price fluctuations.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

zanl188
Posts: 3845
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:05 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Starlionblue wrote:
IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

Not only that, they buy large amounts of fuel futures in order to decrease exposure to price fluctuations.

Delta went so far as to buy a refinery. I am unsure if they are still in the oil refining business.
Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe

mxaxai
Posts: 2649
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Makes me wonder if airlines buy futures for any other products they use, like peanuts, coffee, onions and other food for their catering.

Tristarsteve
Posts: 3694
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:04 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

Our computor flight plan always gives the crew fuel cost factors so they can decide whether to carry tanker fuel or not.
Sometimes, this flight plan will add the fuel for the crew.
Where I worked in Stockholm, the fuel price difference always favoured tanking fuel, but the saving was very small.
Every year in September, I have to remind flight planning that the cost of deicing to remove the fuel frost on the wings of tankered aircraft is equivalent to the saving on about twenty flights due to tankering. So please don't do it in the winter.
Due to differing budgets this was sometimes a difficult point to get across, but nowadays I just play the environment card. Tankering fuel may save money, but it uses more fuel for a very small saving. This is not good.

LCDFlight
Posts: 1091
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:22 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

fr8mech wrote:
IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

Major airlines have people...really software, now, I guess, whose job it is to decide whether it’s more cost efficient...or sometimes, schedule/marketing efficient, to tanker fuel through or load it at a particular airport.

Yes I forgot the name, but there is a fuel management team at any airline's HQ. It is too important and too much money involved not to consider ALL possibilities, and employ some people to do it. As noted, up to Delta buying a refinery!!! It is a lot of money involved! Airlines buy fuel in the MILLIONS of gallons. Largest airlines buy fuel in the BILLIONS of gallons annually. Sorry for the caps, but this is a *huge* deal.

jetmatt777
Posts: 4598
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

At large airports the fuel is already purchased by the airline and delivered to the fuel storage facility. When an airline has their fuel loaded onto an airplane, it is deducted from their storage.

I used to work at the PDX fuel tank farm and that is how it worked, we received a pipeline delivery mostly every day. A delivery can take up to 24 hours to arrive by pipe, and usually would involve multiple airline's fuel. There's no way to ensure that DL's fuel doesn't end up in an AS airplane, as it is all the same product and it is all mixed into the same tank.

It's been a few years but I thought that was a fascinating job. The way I understood it is the airline would order a batch of say 20 million gallons of Jet-A from the market about 90 days before delivery. About 30 days before the delivery date they would divide it, and say we want 50k gallons delivered to PDX, 75k to SEA, 25k to OKC, 2 million to DEN, etc. Other airlines are doing this too, so every delivery was usually a mixed delivery of upwards of a million gallons. Usually around 750k gallons per delivery.

Since this is a semi-daily occurrence, the fuel supply is ALWAYS in motion so no one receives the actual fuel they order. It is always someone else's fuel. Our pipeline alone to the supplier had a line displacement of 100,000 gallons of fuel. So the first 100,000 gallons or so would be fuel from the previous delivery that was still in the pipe when the previous delivery was satisfied. Think of a never-ending train coming out of a tunnel. The supplier batches the orders and delivers it at one time. Keep in mind, the supplier is taking fuel from whoever the airline bought it from. So they are taking multiple deliveries every day by pipeline, ship, and train. They combine them into a delivery tank and once enough is in there, and once we have used enough fuel at the tank farm to take it from the supplier, we will accept the delivery. We wouldn't take partial delivery, so it is a delicate balance of drawing a tank down enough to fit the delivery in, but not so low that the tank runs dry to the field. We measure the tank in feet. A full tank was around 23 feet deep of fuel, we would run it down to about 2 or 3 feet before taking a million-gallon delivery, this would bring us almost up to the top with another foot to spare. If we were taking a 500k delivery we can take the tank down to a higher level, but once we fill a tank it is unusable for 24 hours for settling and testing. The fuel swirls around in the tank for a long time. You want any debris to settle at the bottom so it can get sucked into a filter.

Really the 3 tanks are in a usage balance.

Tank 1 is supplying the field
Tank 2 is settling - unusable
Tank 3 is receiving a delivery - unusable

If we are drawing Tank 1 down too quickly, Tank 2 may not be ready to deliver fuel to the line as it is still settling from a delivery. Tank 3 is filling. So timing when to turn on a tank, or when to accept a delivery is critical as you need to balance the needs of right now, versus the supply in the future. Sometimes you have to delay the start of a delivery by 3 or 4 hours so that a day from now when Tank 1 runs dry, Tank 2 will have settled and you can begin drawing from it. Or delay delivery to Tank 3 and drawdown Tank 3 another foot to buy an extra hour of time for Tank 2 to settle.

There is quite a bit of a dance here between the airlines, the tank farm, the fuelers on the line, our pipeline operator, and the operator's delivery schedule. Everyone has to keep things moving. Unless the technology has changed since I worked in that facility, we couldn't switch tanks during a delivery. So you really had to be thinking 48 hours into the future on when to switch tanks, or when to begin to accept a delivery.

It was probably my most favorite aviation job - but the pay was absolute garbage.

View from the top of Tank 2

Sokes
Posts: 2775
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

mxaxai wrote:
Makes me wonder if airlines buy futures for any other products they use, like peanuts, coffee, onions and other food for their catering.

I often grumbled over these futures and was told they are necessary as insurance. Ironic enough during this crisis the futures became worthless as fuel became totally cheap. So how are futures an insurance? If oil is expensive, business is probably splendid anyway.
Maybe it's an insurance to management bonuses. In times of crisis there won't be bonuses anyway. So an extra loss doesn't affect bonuses. But in times of high demand high oil prices would affect profit and therefore management bonuses. So the bank can charge a fee to shift costs from good times to bad times.

Anyway I never expressed it so beautiful as you.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?

Starlionblue
Posts: 20698
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Sokes wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
Makes me wonder if airlines buy futures for any other products they use, like peanuts, coffee, onions and other food for their catering.

I often grumbled over these futures and was told they are necessary as insurance. Ironic enough during this crisis the futures became worthless as fuel became totally cheap. So how are futures an insurance? If oil is expensive, business is probably splendid anyway.
Maybe it's an insurance to management bonuses. In times of crisis there won't be bonuses anyway. So an extra loss doesn't affect bonuses. But in times of high demand high oil prices would affect profit and therefore management bonuses. So the bank can charge a fee to shift costs from good times to bad times.

Anyway I never expressed it so beautiful as you.

It is insurance because the airline is somewhat protected from price fluctuations. Given fuel is typically 35-40% of an airline's cost, this is massively important.

Of course, sometimes this means the airline pays more than market price, but being protected from going over budget can be more important than that. It means at least one uncertainty is out of the way.

(In the context of management bonuses, massive losses mean poor or no bonuses. On the other hand, meeting a budget target at least means bonuses are somewhat protected.)

For the same reason, airlines often buy "power by the hour" or lease aircraft. It protects them from the uncertain cost fluctuations involved in owning engines and aircraft.

Derivatives like futures are often brought up as examples of the absurdity of the financial markets. They certainly can be abused, but for the most part, derivatives are essential to maintaining the smooth functioning of markets.

A classic example of the insurance aspect of futures is when a farmer sells his crop at a certain agreed price (a future) six months before harvest. Of course, this means he can't take advantage of higher than usual prices, but it also means he won't be exposed to a big loss of income if the market drops.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

Sokes
Posts: 2775
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Starlionblue wrote:
Derivatives like futures are often brought up as examples of the absurdity of the financial markets. They certainly can be abused, but for the most part, derivatives are essential to maintaining the smooth functioning of markets.

A classic example of the insurance aspect of futures is when a farmer sells his crop at a certain agreed price (a future) six months before harvest. Of course, this means he can't take advantage of higher than usual prices, but it also means he won't be exposed to a big loss of income if the market drops.

Derivatives on agricultural products are often criticized by the left. I disagree. They are very necessary. If a future for mais in four months times goes up it gives the signal to sorghum farmers to start their water pumps and grow mais instead.

There is however a crucial difference. A few months notice is enough as cereals have only a few months growing season. I don't think one can drill an oil well or build a refinery in three months. Moreover one can store grain for many months. But if I fill the tank of my car once I already used the same amount of oil than what I would eat as cereals in four months. But then there is still my house heating and whatever industry requires.

"Global oil consumption is in the region of 0.1 billion barrels (16,000,000 m3) per day.[2] The 4.1 billion barrels reserve is equivalent to 41 days of production. "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_st ... m_reserves

Futures for oil are useful as they shorten the warning time if increases are required. However they can not serve to equalize offer and demand.
Somebody has to cut demand. So I find it counter productive if airlines start using their oldest planes heavy because futures allow them to do so.
If oil is in short supply, the oldest planes should be parked.

I admit if an airline buys futures for only 70% of expected oil use, my argument about cutting capacity doesn't apply.
But my argument that costs are shifted from times of very high oil prices and therefore ticket demand to times of lower demand still holds true.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?

Starlionblue
Posts: 20698
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

I take your point that they do not equalise supply and demand. Derivates can, on the other hand, smooth out the process, as it were.

I agree you can't drill an oil well in a few months. However, this is not an airline's problem. It is the problem of those who are selling the contracts. But given that the aviation industry uses "only" about 5-6% of total oil production in the world, they're not exactly putting an extreme squeeze on the market, even if oil is in short supply and they have futures for their entire share. (Which they don't.)

I don't think that airlines would use their oldest planes more because futures allow them to do so. Those old aircraft still use more fuel, regardless of what price you bought it.

As you say, airlines don't hedge their entire future fuel purchases. That would be too constraining.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

Sokes
Posts: 2775
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Starlionblue wrote:
I don't think that airlines would use their oldest planes more because futures allow them to do so. Those old aircraft still use more fuel, regardless of what price you bought it.

As you say, airlines don't hedge their entire future fuel purchases. That would be too constraining.

I believe the problem is that airlines start selling tickets six months or more in advance. Airlines pay today's bills with tickets six month out.

Price serves to decide how a limited resource is distributed. By selling tickets so many months out airlines can't react to price signals.
If airlines had to sell tickets for their smallest and least efficient planes only two months in advance they could react. Any airline does that?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?

trex8
Posts: 5677
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2002 9:04 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

IIRC there was a story about how United set up an office in some suburban town outside Chicago to purchase oil and pay lower taxes than if it were in the jurisdiction of the City of Chicago (which includes ORD even though ORD is not actually contiguous with the City itself). They got some flack as it ended up eventually being no more than a postal address with an empty office they just used to claim this "tax break".

Faro
Posts: 2027
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 1:08 am

### Re: Refueling wide bodies

Starlionblue wrote:
IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Along the same lines, do airlines strategically shop around for fuel at airports/states/countries with lower prices?

Not only that, they buy large amounts of fuel futures in order to decrease exposure to price fluctuations.

To decrease exposure to price fluctuations on the upside that is...you can still lose money if the actual future price of fuel turns out to be less than you committed to in your futures contract...no free lunch...you remain exposed to losses on the downside...

Faro
The chalice not my son

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Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos