NBAA Convention News

Everest touts value of ‘fuel management’

 - October 13, 2010, 11:04 AM

Everest Fuel Management is using its NBAA appearance (Booth No. 6048) to mark an impressive milestone. In business for five years, the Houston-based company has recently added its 2,000th jet to its fuel program.

In its present incarnation, the company, which president Rob Lewis described as the second or third largest buyer of jet fuel in the market after fractional providers like NetJets, resulted from the joining of contract fueler Everest Aviation Resources and Sentient Jet’s fuel management program after Sentient merged its fuel program with Everest early last year. This past February, the division was spun off and sold to Australian private equity fund Macquarie Global Opportunity Partners.

“Fuel management is the notion that we would do what a customer would do themselves to properly manage fuel if they had the time and resources, so we can be a great resource and time savings for the pilot or for the scheduler,” Lewis told AIN. The company specializes in searching for the lowest fuel prices for its customers, and aside from a per gallon margin based on the entire purchase, charges no other fees nor requires any plan enrollment.

Based on its volume of fuel purchases, along with direct deals with oil companies and more than 1,000 FBOs and fuel providers around the world, Everest said it offers significant fuel savings for flight departments. “We typically find that our process and our pricing enable the customer to save 45 to 55 cents per gallon on average,” said Lewis. “That’s compared to our experience of what typical customers are already paying for fuel with whatever methods they have available to them.”

For most of the company’s customers, once an itinerary is set by a flight department, a copy is sent (in many cases automatically) to Everest. “That begins the process on our end to start to research what the different fuel options are, and what’s the best one to use,” Lewis said. From the time they receive the itinerary, the turnaround time for the research is approximately six minutes. That research also takes into account variables such as ramp fees and what volume of fuel purchase would get them waived.

Everest also looks for price breaks for different uplift amounts. The company then arranges the fuel, notifies the customer and the FBO–as well as the handler if it’s an international flight–so all parties are aware of what to expect when the aircraft arrives. Once the transaction is complete, the fueler then bills Everest, which verifies the amount of fuel uplifted and the correct price before charging the customer. If there is a discrepancy, Everest’s post-verify department will investigate it.

Another area of savings offered by the company is in time, as recent industry austerity has forced the contraction of flight departments. Remaining employees often find themselves with more tasks. “The schedulers have multiple ­responsibilities,” said Lewis. “They have to make sure the pilots are on duty, and that the caterer is there, the ground transportation is there, all things that the customer notices or are safety related items. Fuel may be one of the last things they have time for, and on our end, that’s all we do,” he said.