Cleaner Diesel for Aviation
- 16 September 2016
Vehicles on the ground keep the planes in the air
Last year, Sydney airport saw 38.5 million passengers pass through its doors. On average, the airport manages around 875 aircraft movements per day. Keeping those planes on schedule – and in the air – requires a huge amount of airport services, most of which are run by vehicles operating on the tarmac.
Due to the ever increasing pressure to create operational efficiencies, aircraft turnaround times are getting shorter and shorter which puts extra pressure on support vehicles to be reliable and available – at all times. Unscheduled maintenance and downtime must be kept to an absolute minimum. The range of aviation industry support vehicles includes:
- Specialist insulated catering vans – featuring hydraulically controlled lifting systems to ensure fast, safe, hygienic food transport
- Tugs and tractors - to move baggage dollies and trolleys, not just for passenger baggage but mail bags, cargo crates, oversize equipment, etc
- Ground power units – supplies power to to aircraft while they are parked on the tarmac. Ground power units can be built into the tarmac or mobile, relying on generators for power.
- Buses – used to transport cabin crew, ground staff and passengers in and around airport terminals
- Forklifts and other cargo transporters/container loaders – necessary for loading and unloading of pallets and containers
- Water trucks – filtered water is delivered to aircraft via specially designed high flow pumps
- Waste trucks – waste from an aircraft lavatory systems is stored in tanks which need emptying and cleaning each time an aircraft is grounded
- Aircraft fuel trucks – aviation fuel is a specialist product containing a number of additives that allow the fuel to remain stable across a wider range of extreme temperatures. Jet engines and piston engines require different types of aviation fuel
- Belt loaders – are another type of vehicle used for loading and unloading of baggage
- Pushback tugs and tractors – powerful vehicles that tow aircraft either to runways or aircraft hangers
- Aviation fire and rescue vehicles – essential at every airport regardless of its size
Effects of fuel contamination
Common across this wide range of support vehicles is the need for cleaner diesel fuel. Cleaner diesel is referring to fuel that is free of contaminants – and for the aviation industry, that challenge exists just like any other where essential services depend on diesel-powered vehicles and generators.
Typical contaminants such as water, algae, bacteria, fungus, debris and dust particles as well as other microbial agents enter the fuel supply chain every time fuel is transferred – from the refinery to fuel tanker ships to holding tanks, road tankers and fuel stations – that’s before it’s got anywhere near a specialist airport vehicle.
The effects of these contaminants can include:
- Clogged intake valves
- Premature wear and tear on engine components
- Reduced air flow
- Reduced engine power and performance
The end result is increased downtime for unscheduled maintenance, along with the additional costs associated with repairing fuel injection hoses and nozzles. The best way to remove these contaminants is by filtering diesel using a high quality after-market filter before fuel enters the tank, or using a Final Filtered Diesel® fuel.
Next up in our seven-part series on clean diesel, we’re looking at the impact of diesel fuel contaminants in the port and marine industry. Make sure you’ve read posts one and two in the series, dealing with the agriculture and mining industries.
When it comes to diesel fuel cleanliness, Bulk Fuel Australia is leading the pack. Our high quality single-pass filter units supply filtered diesel to our customer’s fuel tanks directly via our fleet of specialist on-site refuelling vehicles. For clean, final filtered fuel across the entire range of aviation support vehicles, get in touch today.