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Fuel pathway: the right checklist for a safe flight

On their way from the refinery to the aircraft’s tanks, JET A-1 and AVGAS 100LL are exposed to several types of risks. They have to be handled with care at every stage of the supply chain. With safety as a top priority, TotalEnergies has developed and implemented a strict inspection system to monitor key operations. Guaranteeing quality fuel delivery and avoiding any risk of accidents.

If fuel integrity is not checked on a regular basis, it increases the risk of an in-flight accident. "The presence of water in the fuel, for example, is dangerous because sub-zero temperatures make it freeze. The resulting crystallization can result in a loss of power or even a crash. Plus, if two petroleum products are mixed during storage, AVGAS 100LL or JET A-1 with diesel fuel for instance, the diesel also freezes in flight," explains Gilles Gauthier, Head of HSE at TotalEnergies Aviation. To prevent these risks, it is therefore essential to test the product throughout the supply chain. In addition, a lot of factors can also lead to leaks and fire outbreaks during the refuelling process. Fuel handling is all the more hazardous if it is carried out on the tarmac with passengers on board. Storage, maintenance, transport and day-to-day operations must therefore be carried out meticulously, with the right actions at the right times.

Air fuel: stringent checks at every stage

TotalEnergies has implemented routine inspection procedures to ensure smooth refuelling. "A team of 7 inspectors carries out from 200 to 250 inspections every year at 400 to 500 sites worldwide.” For two days, every stage of the supply chain is scrutinised: incoming acceptance, storage, loading into vehicles, and refuelling. Each of them is tested according to the JIG* reference standards. "Based on these standards, we review everything the operators do, from design to maintenance and all the way to routine operations.” Tests include fuel analysis, storage tanks, interlocks (safety features that prevent the refuelling truck from driving away before the hose is disconnected from the aircraft), the pressure regulation system, filters and hoses. 

Fuel inspection: a shared responsibility

On top of the work done by TotalEnergies' inspection teams, operators at each site perform a self-assessment and the airlines carry out their own inspections. After each job, operators must provide records to show that the tests have been carried out. These documents are based on the JIG standards. High safety standards that authorities can rely on in the event of an incident. "TotalEnergies controls product quality all the way to delivery, and the staff who manage the fuelling are also responsible for treating it well. They have to master the right gestures to maintain its integrity up to this point.” Dual safety procedures and a collaborative approach that ensure safe refuelling operations for all.


*Did you know?
The JIG, or Joint Inspection Group, is an international body that defines the standards of operations and quality control relating to fuel storage, transport and distribution. TotalEnergies has been a founding member since its beginning in the 1970s. 

Steps of refueling :
1 : Manufacturing fuel 
2 : Primary storage 
3 : Fuel transportation to the airport 
4 : Product acceptance at the airport 
5 : Refueling