LABACE Convention News

World Fuel Services Keeps Latin American Bizav on ‘Full’

 - August 8, 2015, 8:00 AM
Providing aviation fuel throughout the Latin American region, including the Caribbean, World Fuel Services has a good perch from which to view the overall market. Maintaining relationships with regional fuel suppliers, including the St. Thomas Jet Center FBO, helps WFS optimize pricing and availability.

Providing business aviation fuel is different in Latin America, compared with the norm in North America and much of the rest of the globe. Supplier World Fuel Services (WFS) understands that the traditional model of an FBO selling jet A at a profit to underwrite its service role is not the way it works in this part of the world. With one or two exceptions, the U.S.-based company’s regional sales director Leny Omilion explained to AIN, “Due to supplier monopolies or government control, the FBO-handler [in South and Central America] is not permitted to sell fuel.” Instead, the FBO-handler provides its services for a fee, and the entity in control provides fuel.

That said, World Fuel’s Air Elite Network of Diamond Service locations include 10 FBOs and ground operators in South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Service providers earn Air Elite status by exhibiting high standards in service, safety and efficiency.

From its perch as one of the top fuel suppliers globally, World Fuel has noted that while the volume of flights between the U.S. and Europe has “held steady,” operators within the Mercosur economic region have slowed down their business travel activity. But to support that activity and help encourage growth, WFS counts a number of service offerings among its arsenal of products. It can provide contract fuel (Colt International); flight planning/trip support (OFP); Avcard perks and credit card services, FlyBuys Rewards loyalty benefits, insurance coverage and even charter brokerage through its recently acquired Avinode division. Central to its core mission, however, WFS cultivates and maintains strong supply chain agreements with local refineries and suppliers, which optimizes wide availability within the region and competitive pricing.

Internet-based dispatch is available on a 24-hour basis for fuel arrangements anywhere in the WFS umbrella of service coverage, according to the company. “We understand the strengths and challenges of specific airports; and we employ people and have offices in the local regions,” said the company.

Those challenges can include econo-political and infrastructure limitations, said WFS. According to the company, “The main challenges are with the fuel monopolies by suppliers and/or governments combined with limited trucks at certain airports during peak hours. [Generally] ground handlers have good availability of equipment and hangars,” said Omilion.

WFS (Booth 3014) has developed its FuelFinder mobile application, enabling registered users and account holders to search FBOs and other fuel providers within the WFS Services Network for contract fuel pricing data; available handling services and whether or not the Avcard aviation charge card is accepted at the particular location.

In the Latin American region, World Fuel recently added locations at Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas International Airport (MMSL), the first Air Elite Network FBO in the country; and World-Way Aviation at Sorocaba Airport (SDCO) less than an hour’s drive to Sao Paulo. The latter is the largest FBO in Brazil, said WFS, with a total of close to 97,000 sq ft of hangar space and almost 70,000 sq ft of ramp space at Sorocaba.

World Fuel Services punctuated its mission statement with the following philosophy, “It is our goal to provide flight operators with consistency of service and solutions when traveling anywhere around the globe, including Latin America.”