Expanding Avfuel Aims To Simplify Fuel Supply Lines

 - May 13, 2012, 7:00 AM
Avfuel is extending its network of fuel outlets into Europe.

With increasing visibility outside North America, operating more than 3,500 locations worldwide, Avfuel (Stand 456) claims that growing availability of its contract fuel service ensures that corporate flight departments are able to buy fuel at competitive prices no matter where they fly. In addition to boasting a growing network of its outlets, the U.S.-based group provides automated billing to streamline transactions.

Fuel purchases can be authorized in advance by telephone or online, and sources are “easily located through use of mobile applications,” said the company, which supplies about 22 percent of U.S. general aviation fuel requirements. Avfuel’s contract fuel program enables qualified commercial and corporate aircraft operators to buy fuel at cost-plus rates at more than 600 domestic and non-U.S. locations.

In contrast to some other suppliers, which Avfuel says require customers to post collateral or pay in advance, it offers to extend credit for the procurement of fuel and services. The company works with customers to determine their needs and to tailor their solutions accordingly.

How important in economic hard times has it become for Avfuel to assist FBO customers in management of their credit card programs? Avfuel told AIN that the recession has renewed interest from customers “wanting to streamline back-end operations as much as possible.” Claiming to have been the first fuel supplier to market electronic point-of-sale machines to customers, it expects to announce service improvements or initiatives later this year.

Meanwhile, here at the EBACE show, Avfuel is expected to announce that its Avplan Trip Support business has joined with hourly-cost maintenance program provider Jet Support Services (Stand 939) to offer customers access to JSSI’s regional experts. “Avplan customers will be able to use these advisors should they have a maintenance ‘issue’ in unfamiliar territory,” said JSSI technical services vice president George Kleros.

The advisor would liaise between an Avplan customer and a local maintenance company during repairs, making recommendations and looking after maintenance arrangements. Customers would receive streamlined billing and be responsible for the direct repair costs and JSSI’s technical fee, billed through Avplan.

Asked how has the recession has helped Avfuel to add branded European dealers to its network, and what new options has it permitted the supplier to offer, president and chief executive Craig Sincock said that FBOs in Europe and elsewhere want access to existing customer bases. “Through our global network and strategic programs, Avfuel has established relationships with thousands of flight departments and tens of thousands of aircraft,” he said. “Continuing to add European locations to our branded dealer and Avfuel contract fuel networks offers them more convenience and cost savings.”

Avfuel, whose contract fuel activity includes 3,500-plus fueling locations worldwide, has recently begun to recruit branded dealers in Europe, where it claims to have been “prevalent for some time.” Following an initial foray into Northern Ireland in collaboration with Eurojet Aviation in Belfast, Avfuel has recently added two FBOs on the UK mainland–Eurojet at Birmingham and Ocean Sky Jet Centre at London Luton Airport–to its European branded network.

“Our experience in branding FBOs in the UK has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Avfuel managing director Paul Jefferson, who is looking forward to expanding the European network. Beyond this region, Avfuel continues to grow. “Expanding markets, highlighted by regions such as China and Latin American, drive fuel sales growth, and reasonable jet fuel process certainly do their part,” said Sincock.