In just one year, the price paid at the refinery for jet-A in the U.S. has climbed 92.7 percent, reaching the $4-per-gallon mark early last month. The refinery price is a good place to start looking at fuel prices because it roughly equates to the cost of jet-A paid by FBOs before various fees, taxes and markups are added to decide the retail price.
When he left his vice president slot at the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) earlier this year to become senior vice president of government and technical affairs at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Andrew Cebula had to change his point of view along with the alphabet initials on his business card.
Jet Aviation recently completed negotiations with three major worldwide fuel suppliers to provide discounts for its charter and managed aircraft fleets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Christoph Thurnherr, head of purchasing for Jet Aviation Business Jets in Zurich, Switzerland, said the company now provides discounts at close to 300 locations worldwide, with customer savings of up to 60 percent compared with posted retail fuel prices.
American Pilot Services, a new second FBO at Carroll County Regional Airport north of Washington, D.C., is offering visiting aircraft operators the opportunity to buy fuel at a discount without having to negotiate a price or work with a contract fuel provider. By signing up with American Pilot’s tiered frequent fuel program, operators earn discounts that grow according to how much cumulative fuel they have bought.
In its bid to secure lower fuel prices for the aircraft operators it represents, AML Global is not trying to cut out the middleman. Instead, the company is trying to make the middleman bend a bit more to give the client a better deal.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) warned its members of a new requirement imposed by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Heavy Weights and Measures Division. According to NATA, the state has decided to apply legal standards for self-serve auto fuel pumps to aviation facilities.
There’s nothing like a spike in jet-A prices to cause aircraft operators to investigate new money-saving strategies. Last year’s surge in prices to more than $5 per gallon after Hurricane Katrina raised discussion of the usual economy measures, including private fuel farms. What could be better than topping off at home base at wholesale rates and tankering through all those FBOs that are charging two or three dollars more per gallon?
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