Many business jet travellers have been in one situation or another when nearly all flight preparations are complete, but their aircraft must stay on the ground awaiting fuel.

While the average fuel stop takes less than an hour, a lack of available fuel trucks can cause additional delays as aircraft now have to wait in line for take-off behind other aircraft that were prioritised for refuelling.

Putting it simply, fuel delays cost valuable time. This makes it all the more important that prior to travel, operators take several critical steps to prevent fuel delays from occurring. 

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Be Aware of Airport Circumstances

Whether you are flying to Florence on holiday or to Dubai for a business meeting, it’s important to have a good understanding of the local airport and its potential limitations.

While some airports operate 24 hours a day, many major airports in Europe are closed in the evening between 11pm and 5am. For those looking to operate flights close to opening or closing time for these airports, there is a high likelihood that less fuel trucks will be made available. 

In addition to operating times, airports often have peak seasons where demand could potentially outpace supply when it comes to fuel. Island nations, such as Anguilla in the Caribbean, have been known to have fuel shortages in the past during its busy season.

It is also common to see fuel shortages at remote, general aviation airports. This makes it all the more important that aircraft operators review NOTAMs on an ongoing basis leading up to departure. Flight planning partners can help with keeping operators up to date on potential flight disruptions as well. 

Carefully Select the Best Fuel Supplier

With most airports nowadays having more than one fuel supplier available, it may seem straightforward to simply select the lowest cost supplier. However, other factors need to be considered as well, such as what times they are available for service at the airport, what their payment terms are and what their reputation is. Tools online can provide up-to-date information on pricing, along with the ability to request jet fuel and give greater context to how well a supplier has performed in the past.

In addition, rather than just have individuals increase business aeroplane travel, companies are beginning to send entire teams on trips to ensure continuity.

VistaJet, a global business aviation company based in Malta, notes how corporations are seeing the many benefits afforded to business jet travel, especially the increased flexibility and enhanced safety protocols. And while demand is mainly driven by customers in the US, the company notes that two of its most popular routes currently are from the UK to France and Italy, respectively.

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Plan Fuel Charges In Advance

Even as most of the world now accepts fuel or aviation credit cards, some airports still require credit to be pre-approved. In some cases, such as in Tanzania, airports have required operators to pay for fuel in advance or to pay in cash prior to take-off.

With no traveller wanting to be stuck at an airport with no way to pay for fuel, it’s important that flight planning teams are up-to-date on airport-specific requirements surrounding fuel payments.

Bottom Line

Fuel delays can negatively impact your schedule, holiday or business trip, wherever in the world you are travelling to. It is therefore of the utmost importance that proper planning is completed to be aware of unique airport circumstances, carefully vet fuel providers and plan for fuel expenses in advance. Taking these critical steps can ensure your next trip goes off without a hitch.


Flying into or out of the European Union, but unsure about the tax on aviation fuel you may incur? Feel free to contact our team here at Flightworx today for advice on flight planning and aviation fuel supply.

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