Committed for Quality Service in Aviation Fuel Supply

0
8

With an increase in inflow of tourists, both international and domestic flight carriers are being busy serving their customers which also has triggered for soaring demand for aviation fuel, an average of 15-20 percent steady growth every year. As Nepal’s peak tourist season that falls in September-November period has reached to its midway, the air traffic has also risen up immensely which makes a straight headway for aviation turbine fuel (ATF) demand to daily average of more than 600 kl from around 400 kl in normal time.

The three-month-long tourism season accounts for 35 percent of the year’s tourist arrivals. Along with the tourism season the festival season also falls during the period, due to which the country sees an influx of 500,000 travellers on different international airlines. On average, the Nepali skies will see 8,000 international flight movements during this three-month period.

There are 28 international airlines including three Nepali carriers, operating up to 106 flights daily to Kathmandu, according to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) authorities. In addition, 19 domestic airlines companies serve the market—10 are fixed wing and nine are rotor wing or helicopter operators. Of more than 600 kl daily demand for ATF, international flight carriers consume around 90 percent while the domestic airlines consume rest of 10 percent (60 kl) daily.

Airlines saw a heady growth of 13 percent in 2008 which jumped to 33 percent in 2009 as they cut fares amid stiff competition. Although passenger movement increased 12.83 percent in 2010, the growth rate started dropping in 2011 and has shown a negative growth since 2012.

TIA rebounded strongly from a slump caused by the April earthquake and jet fuel shortage caused by an Indian trade embargo in 2015 recording double-digit growth in passenger numbers in 2016. Passenger traffic swelled 9.12 percent to 3.51 million in 2016, TIA data showed. The airport saw exactly the same number of travellers in 2014.

International air passenger traffic through TIA plunged 8.37 percent to a 13-year low of 3.21 million in 2015, as travellers stayed away due to the April earthquake.

However, TIA has witnessed a solid growth in the first half of 2017, setting the stage for receiving a record number of flyers this year. According to TIA data, 1.87 million travellers passed through the airport’s facilities in the first six months of 2017, up 12.79 percent compared to the same period last year. As result, aircraft movement also grew by 31.86 percent to 16,469 flights.

NOC is committed to upgrade
technologies at ATF depots

With an increase in inflow of tourists, both international and domestic flight carriers are being busy serving their customers which also has triggered for soaring demand for aviation fuel, an average of 15-20 percent steady growth every year. As Nepal’s peak tourist season that falls in September-November period has reached to its midway, the air traffic has also risen up immensely which makes a straight headway for aviation turbine fuel (ATF) demand to daily average of more than 600 kl from around 400 kl in normal time.

The three-month-long tourism season accounts for 35 percent of the year’s tourist arrivals. Along with the tourism season the festival season also falls during the period, due to which the country sees an influx of 500,000 travellers on different international airlines. On average, the Nepali skies will see 8,000 international flight movements during this three-month period.

There are 28 international airlines including three Nepali carriers, operating up to 106 flights daily to Kathmandu, according to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) authorities. In addition, 19 domestic airlines companies serve the market—10 are fixed wing and nine are rotor wing or helicopter operators. Of more than 600 kl daily demand for ATF, international flight carriers consume around 90 percent while the domestic airlines consume rest of 10 percent (60 kl) daily.

Airlines saw a heady growth of 13 percent in 2008 which jumped to 33 percent in 2009 as they cut fares amid stiff competition. Although passenger movement increased 12.83 percent in 2010, the growth rate started dropping in 2011 and has shown a negative growth since 2012.

TIA rebounded strongly from a slump caused by the April earthquake and jet fuel shortage caused by an Indian trade embargo in 2015 recording double-digit growth in passenger numbers in 2016. Passenger traffic swelled 9.12 percent to 3.51 million in 2016, TIA data showed. The airport saw exactly the same number of travellers in 2014.

International air passenger traffic through TIA plunged 8.37 percent to a 13-year low of 3.21 million in 2015, as travellers stayed away due to the April earthquake.

However, TIA has witnessed a solid growth in the first half of 2017, setting the stage for receiving a record number of flyers this year. According to TIA data, 1.87 million travellers passed through the airport’s facilities in the first six months of 2017, up 12.79 percent compared to the same period last year. As result, aircraft movement also grew by 31.86 percent to 16,469 flights.

The country’s ATF business is undertaken solely by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), which on time and again has fallen into debates, may the issue be related with quality, short supply, price or the compliance on distribution system that the state-owned enterprise has been following. Showing their concerns over the matters, a number of international air carriers in the past expressed their dissatisfaction and reacted adversely through either rescheduling their flights or refilling their aircrafts in alternative destinations.

ATF is a higher quality specialzed type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircrafts. It is a blend of hydrocarbon and additives such as antioxidants and metal deactivators, biocides and corrosion inhibitors among others. Unlike other normal fuels used to run the vehicles, the additives contained in ATF help reduce risk of icing or explosion due to high temperature or other similar causes.

The smooth supply of ATF plays vital role in the country’s economic activities as it is the main facilitator to make the air services keep going. During the peak tourists’ season that falls through March-May and September-November, the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) sees overwhelming traffic of the air carriers, so are the NOC’s staffers busy at refueling the aircrafts.

Currently, NOC sells ATF from seven depots and two refueling stations scattered across the country. There are fuel depots in Kathmandu and Surkhet and one each in the five development regions. It also maintains a refueling station at Manthali in Ramechhap district. Since last year, the enterprise has been selling the fuel also from Bhadrapur Airport.

While the regional depots serve the domestic flight carriers, the one at TIA provides its service to both domestic and international airlines companies.

NOC maintains its largest ATF refueling depot at TIA, having capacity to stock 7,000 kiloliters. As TIA is the only gateway for the country’s international flight linkage, the NOC’s depot at the point needs to be capable for sound delivery of related services apart from having potential for the adequate amount in stock.

Manoj Thakur, chief of NOC’s depot at TIA, said the demand for ATF has been increasing at the rate of 15-20 percent annually. In addition, failing to dispatch the fuel on time to the concern depot triggered by procedural delay at Raxaul based depot of Indian Oil Corporation and traffic congestion along Birgunj-Raxaul and Prithvi Highway road segments fuels up the demand pressure. “With the reason too, the enterprise has been under pressure to increase the storage capacity of ATF in almost all the locations including the one at the TIA.”

NOC has been mulling to boost the capacity of its ATF depot in Kathmandu by 4,000kl and hike the storage capacity of its Pokhara depot by 150kl, besides building new storage plants at Jhapa’s Bhadrapur Airport, Bara’s Simara Airport and Rupandehi’s Gautam Buddha Airport. However, it is yet to be materialised.

The government authority had started showing concern on increasing the fuel stock since the embargo imposed by India two years ago. In October 2015, National Planning Commission had asked government agencies concerned to work to increase NOC’s petroleum storage capacity fourfold after the blockade exposed Nepal’s precarious supply lines and extreme vulnerability to fuel shortages.

With the supply disruption at place, NOC had even barred refueling facility for international carriers from September-end 2015 to mid-February 2016. Long distance international airlines had to manage technical landing permit at the nearest airports, namely Lucknow, Dhaka and New Delhi as per their convenience for refueling and continued their operation to Kathmandu.

Later on, NOC even joined hand with another state-owned entity Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to supply uninterrupted ATF to domestic airlines. As part of the deal, NAC through its 30 return flights airlifted 690 tonnes of fuel within 10 days dispatching its Boeing 757 to Kolkata, India.

NOC has even been blamed for charging high price on the ATF that the corporation sells. The enterprise sells bonded (duty free) fuel for international carriers at $0.75 per liter ($750 per kilolitre) while it charges Rs82 per litre in ATF for domestic airlines. The price is relatively higher compared to the aviation fuel being sold in foreign countries, which is due to the high import cost, according to Thakur.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO) through Chicago 1944, Article 24, exempts air fuels already loaded onto an aircraft on landing (and which remain on the aircraft) from import taxes. Fuels have to conform to a specification in order to be approved for use in type certificated aircraft. In addition, the American Society for Testing and Materials has developed specifications for both automobiles and aviation gasoline. These specifications are ASTM D910 and ASTM D6227 for aviation gasoline which every country needs to follow in their ATF business.

“More than quality and price issues, at present, we have been facing problem in managing compliance in dispatch system as per the changing technology globally,” Thakur said.

 

The country’s ATF business is undertaken solely by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), which on time and again has fallen into debates, may the issue be related with quality, short supply, price or the compliance on distribution system that the state-owned enterprise has been following. Showing their concerns over the matters, a number of international air carriers in the past expressed their dissatisfaction and reacted adversely through either rescheduling their flights or refilling their aircrafts in alternative destinations.

ATF is a higher quality specialzed type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircrafts. It is a blend of hydrocarbon and additives such as antioxidants and metal deactivators, biocides and corrosion inhibitors among others. Unlike other normal fuels used to run the vehicles, the additives contained in ATF help reduce risk of icing or explosion due to high temperature or other similar causes.

The smooth supply of ATF plays vital role in the country’s economic activities as it is the main facilitator to make the air services keep going. During the peak tourists’ season that falls through March-May and September-November, the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) sees overwhelming traffic of the air carriers, so are the NOC’s staffers busy at refueling the aircrafts.

Currently, NOC sells ATF from seven depots and two refueling stations scattered across the country. There are fuel depots in Kathmandu and Surkhet and one each in the five development regions. It also maintains a refueling station at Manthali in Ramechhap district. Since last year, the enterprise has been selling the fuel also from Bhadrapur Airport.

While the regional depots serve the domestic flight carriers, the one at TIA provides its service to both domestic and international airlines companies.

NOC maintains its largest ATF refueling depot at TIA, having capacity to stock 7,000 kiloliters. As TIA is the only gateway for the country’s international flight linkage, the NOC’s depot at the point needs to be capable for sound delivery of related services apart from having potential for the adequate amount in stock.

Manoj Thakur, chief of NOC’s depot at TIA, said the demand for ATF has been increasing at the rate of 15-20 percent annually. In addition, failing to dispatch the fuel on time to the concern depot triggered by procedural delay at Raxaul based depot of Indian Oil Corporation and traffic congestion along Birgunj-Raxaul and Prithvi Highway road segments fuels up the demand pressure. “With the reason too, the enterprise has been under pressure to increase the storage capacity of ATF in almost all the locations including the one at the TIA.”

NOC has been mulling to boost the capacity of its ATF depot in Kathmandu by 4,000kl and hike the storage capacity of its Pokhara depot by 150kl, besides building new storage plants at Jhapa’s Bhadrapur Airport, Bara’s Simara Airport and Rupandehi’s Gautam Buddha Airport. However, it is yet to be materialised.

The government authority had started showing concern on increasing the fuel stock since the embargo imposed by India two years ago. In October 2015, National Planning Commission had asked government agencies concerned to work to increase NOC’s petroleum storage capacity fourfold after the blockade exposed Nepal’s precarious supply lines and extreme vulnerability to fuel shortages.

With the supply disruption at place, NOC had even barred refueling facility for international carriers from September-end 2015 to mid-February 2016. Long distance international airlines had to manage technical landing permit at the nearest airports, namely Lucknow, Dhaka and New Delhi as per their convenience for refueling and continued their operation to Kathmandu.

Later on, NOC even joined hand with another state-owned entity Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to supply uninterrupted ATF to domestic airlines. As part of the deal, NAC through its 30 return flights airlifted 690 tonnes of fuel within 10 days dispatching its Boeing 757 to Kolkata, India.

NOC has even been blamed for charging high price on the ATF that the corporation sells. The enterprise sells bonded (duty free) fuel for international carriers at $0.75 per liter ($750 per kilolitre) while it charges Rs82 per litre in ATF for domestic airlines. The price is relatively higher compared to the aviation fuel being sold in foreign countries, which is due to the high import cost, according to Thakur.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO) through Chicago 1944, Article 24, exempts air fuels already loaded onto an aircraft on landing (and which remain on the aircraft) from import taxes. Fuels have to conform to a specification in order to be approved for use in type certificated aircraft. In addition, the American Society for Testing and Materials has developed specifications for both automobiles and aviation gasoline. These specifications are ASTM D910 and ASTM D6227 for aviation gasoline which every country needs to follow in their ATF business.

“More than quality and price issues, at present, we have been facing problem in managing compliance in dispatch system as per the changing technology globally,” Thakur said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here