AML extends savings programs beyond fuel

 - June 2, 2008, 7:12 AM

Online fuel buyer AML Global is preparing to start offering discounted insurance and pilot training rates to business aircraft operators. The company claims to save operators an average of 7 to 10 percent on jet-A purchased through its process.

AML Global essentially operates as a fuel-buying cooperative, giving aircraft operators much stronger buying power collectively than they would have individually. It tracks fuel prices at airports worldwide in real time to help operators plan at which FBOs and airports they should pick up fuel on a trip.

Customers pay a 3-percent commission on the net cost of the fuel uplift before taxes and other fees are applied. AML commits to paying suppliers’ invoices within just one week if they offer additional discounts, which are then passed onto operators.

“We force fuel suppliers to compete everywhere and all the time,” AML Global founder and UK-based Gulfstream G550 pilot Jamie Shawyer told AIN. “Pilots don’t have the time, the data or the [purchasing] volumes to do this for themselves,” he added.

According to Shawyer, the supply of jet fuel is fragmented around the world, with large variations in the retail price. He said that some of the largest savings are now being achieved at airports in the Far East since this is where business aviation traffic is growing fastest.

Value Comparison

Operators submit flight itineraries and fuel requirements to AML Global via telephone, e-mail, Skype, SMS text message, fax or via the AML Global Web site (www.amlglobal.net). The company uses its real-time database of fuel prices to assess where the best value options can be had for any given trip. Once the operator confirms the preferred fuel outlet, AML places an order and issues the pilot a fuel release message via e-mail or SMS.

Once the fuel has been supplied to the aircraft, the fuel company invoices AML Global at the discounted rate and AML then invoices the client. The AML system also avoids the need for operators to make down payments for fuel, and they can use any card to make fuel purchases.

The fuel supply intelligence that AML has at its fingertips also allows it to help operators when they are facing supply problems. For example, the company recently became aware of a sudden strike by airport staff in the Cape Verde islands that was going to shut off the supply of jet-A and threatened to immobilize several customers in the middle of the Atlantic for several days.

It found alternative fuel sources in the Canary Islands and Senegal and then diverted its customers there by sending messages via the aircraft’s flight-management systems. It also made arrangements for appropriate ground handling services to be ready at the new technical stops.

AML is preparing to start posting information on airport taxes, landing fees and security charges to give operators a fuller picture of the costs they face for each trip. It is also looking into providing flight-planning data directly for operators.

With operators facing the prospect of long-term high prices for aviation fuel, they are more aggressively chasing ways to reduce this part of their direct operating cost. AML reports that its business is currently increasing by around 36 percent each month.