Air BP (Booth B29) is unveiling its new Airfield Automation technology at EBACE this week. This real-time, cloud-based digital platform is an integrated global solution for operators and airports that improves safety barriers and decreases risks during the fueling process. Air BP plans to incorporate Airfield Automation into its network this summer and anticipates it will be fully operational at approximately 350 locations by 2020, as an end-to-end paperless data capture system, which will allow the fuel transaction to take place entirely on the ramp using a tablet or smartphone.
Airfield Automation collects data related to airport fueling operations and works from an app called “safe2go” on a handheld device in fueling vehicles. This app detects fuel volume and offers fuel grade checks, which add additional misfueling barriers. The “safe2go” app confirms customer details with the pilot or airline, who signs off with an electronic signature.
Air BP claims this technology is one of the first commercially deployed systems to offer an engineering barrier to prevent misfueling. For this reason, the company is looking into patent protection.
Misfueling is a prevalent safety issue. Kerry Rutherford, technical director at Air BP, said, “Misfueling is one of the biggest risks we face in our industry, and the new Air BP Airfield Automation technology provides an engineering barrier to stop it from happening. As aircraft engine technology advances and new unleaded fuel grades are introduced, we anticipate that it will become even more relevant in future.”
Air BP held a two-year trial period for the Airfield Automation technology at nine airports in the UK, Cyprus, and Portugal. This trial period included commercial, business, and general aviation customers. According to the company, one airport saw more than 5,000 aircraft fuelings completed over the last six months with the technology. This helped customers deliver more than 46 million liters (approximately 12 million gallons) of fuel into aircraft.
“This new platform reinforces our ambition to be a leader in digital fueling technology,” said Matt Elliot, CEO of Air BP. “Air travel continues to grow, putting more pressure on airports and operators to provide a seamless service to customers. With this new technology, we are playing our part in ensuring that the fueling process is fast, efficient, and safe. Future enhancements to our system will support wider digitalization at airports.”
Organizations within the aviation industry are also working to prevent misfueling problems. The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) started an initiative in 2016 called General Aviation Misfueling Prevention to bring awareness to misfueling issues. This year, the organization launched the Supplemental Safety Training Program, which aims to quickly respond to industry safety issues. The program, which addresses the risk of jet fuel contamination with diesel exhaust fluid in its first course, works well with its 2016 initiative.