Shell Aviation (Booth No. 420) is preparing to offer its Shell Card to clients in Germany, France and Austria beginning later this year and is looking at what else it can do to boost the benefits its customers can derive through advanced information technology (IT) in the purchasing process. The Shell Card, which is available in the U.S., UK, Scandinavia and Switzerland, promises easier transactions, with quick and reliable online approval and remote billing.
Working with its FBO partners, the oil company also has been doing more preplanning to get a better understanding of demand patterns for unscheduled operators so as to be more efficient at scheduling fueling. At locations where operators still have to wait long periods for fueling, Shell has provided dedicated refueling trucks for general aviation operators (notably, in Dubai and Qatar).
According to Emilio Titus, Shell’s global general aviation manager, the oil company wants to further enhance the IT behind the card to help improve fuel management. This will give fleet managers detailed fuel costs from the start to the end of a journey and Shell is doing the feasibility work for the improvements.
To help operators minimize the impact of high oil prices, Shell is looking to extend risk management (fuel price hedging) to business aviation operations. Price hedging works only with large-scale fuel purchases, which traditionally have not been possible for smaller operators. Shell hopes to work with its FBO partners to achieve the levels needed for improved purchasing power for business aviation operators.
With the prospect of new emissions trading requirements looming large for some business aircraft operators in Europe, Shell is also preparing to offer advice and support to these customers. In particular, many corporate and smaller charter operators are concerned that this new process will be burdensome because they do not have the level of human resources that large airlines have to deal with the associated administration and management requirements.
Air BP Targeting IT, Too
Meanwhile, rival oil supplier Air BP (Booth No. 628) is also looking to harness IT power to make life easier for business aircraft operators. According to European general aviation manager Peter Hadley, the company is working on the development of an electronic billing process that would completely replace paper invoicing while offering other advantages, such as online access to price and duty information. The company has also opened an “out of hours” 24/7 fuel operation based in Dubai.