The aFuel
Business Case

The benefits of aFuel are manifold and have been mentioned over and over again. Now, let’s have a detailed look at them to understand the impact of aFuel.

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Turnaround Minutes

The turnaround process is vital to the operational success of any airline. So naturally, the optimization of the turnaround process is a focal point for global airlines. Optimizing the fueling process in the past however, has been difficult due to its dynamic nature. Constantly changing suppliers at different airports have made it impossible to establish universal standards. With aFuel, this changes completely enabling tangible benefits. In case of the optimized turnaround process two aspects need to be highlighted. Starting with the overall shortening of the turnaround process. It is obvious that a digital approach reduces the overall duration of the fueling process. Based on client analyses, that can lead to an average time reduction of 25%. The reduction is mainly linked to more efficient communication as well as the elimination of process steps (e. g. handover of fuel slips). During a turnaround, fueling is usually executed in parallel with catering and cleaning. Since the fueling process represents the bottleneck of this parallel process chain —for the majority (56%) of turnarounds— the above-mentioned reduction directly leads to a reduction of the overall turnaround duration. When assuming an average fueling duration of 12 minutes, aFuel leads to a reduction of 3 minutes (25%). However, since fueling is the bottleneck in 56% we can calculate with an average reduction of 1,68 minutes (3 minutes x 56%). The calculations below indicate the possible time savings for different sized airlines. Putting a price tag on those numbers is difficult from an external perspective, as the reduction in turnaround minutes will only yield monetary benefits in combination with subsequent process adjustments.

Small airline

(2.000 flights/month)

25% – 13 h/month

75% – 40 h/month

100% – 53 h/month

Medium airline

(10.000 flights/month)

25% – 70 h/month

75% – 208 h/month

100% – 278 h/month

Large airline

(20.000 flights/month)

25% – 140 h/month

75% – 418 h/month

100% – 557 h/month

Delay Minutes

To make turnaround improvements more tangible, we should have a look at a consequent improvement – the reduction in fuel-related delay minutes. Making fueling faster and more stable naturally cuts the fuel-related delay minutes. Based on customer feedback, we assessed a reduction of 75% to 85% overall per year. Pairing this with the generally assumed price per delay minute of $74,24 helps to calculate actual monetary savings. Below, you can find example calculations covering different size airlines and the potential savings. Overall, it becomes clear that the achievable time savings are substantial and have the potential to shorten and stabilize the turnaround process of every airline. The decrease in fuel-related delay minutes can even be translated into monetary benefits. The tangibility of the advantages is highly important for every internal analysis of such a process improvement project. For aFuel, we hand you that on a silver platter.

Small airline

(2.000 flights/month)

25% – 779 $/month

75% – 2.338 $/month

100% – 3.118 $/month

Medium airline

(10.000 flights/month)

25% – 3.823 $
75% – 11.469 $
100% – 15.293 $

Large airline

(20.000 flights/month)

25% – 7.642 $/month

75% – 22.926 $/month

100% – 30.568 $/month

Tankering savings

With aFuel, your pilots can always get in contact with the into-plane agent at the airport, whether via their EFB device on the ground or via ACARS while in the air. For a regular flight, that might not be of much importance. However, for tankering flights, this option holds a considerable advantage. For the first time, you can communicate that the operated flight is a tankering flight in advance. Same applies to any changes to that during the flight, resulting from longer flight times, different forecasts, etc. This, of course, makes the turnaround process again more stable due to the upfront communication. No hectic calls are needed to get the into-plane agent to the position on time anymore. However, the situation in which an airline can generate monetary savings through this looks different. In the case of a tankering flight, the into-plane agent is often not informed or ignores that information. In both cases, the fuel truck drives to the position without need. The pilot will inform the truck driver about the unnecessity of additional fuel, and the driver will drive off, wasting valuable time for requested fueling jobs. The truck driver will also issue an invoice for the unnecessary approach. This clause is included in most fueling contracts. The rate charged for that can vary massively depending on the airport but based on customer feedback 35$ per drive is a fair average. Those 35$ can easily be saved through the upfront communication of no-fuel fuel orders with aFuel. Below , you can find an example calculation covering different size airlines and the potential savings. Flights with a no-fuel fuel order are clearly highlighted for you to identify during invoicing. Invoices for those flights should be monitored manually to ensure everything aligns with the agreements. To increase the tankering savings, aFuel also offers a sophisticated algorithmic feature that allows for automated tankering forecasts and adjustments based on historical data and client- specific configuration.

Small airline

(240 tankering flights/month)

25% – 2.100 $/month
75% – 6.300 $/month
100% – 8.400 $/month

Medium airline

(1.200 tankering flights/month)

25% – 10.500 $/month
75% – 31.500 $/month
100% – 42.000 $/month

Large airline

(2.400 tankering flights/month)

25% – 21.000 $/month
75% – 63.000 $/month
100% – 84.000 $/month

Backoffice Workload

Continuing with the list of benefits generated by aFuel, we now move beyond the actual focus of the system, the operational fueling process. Instead, we look at how the subsequent processes can benefit from the new level of digital communication. A very simple example for that is that fuel slips are issued on paper, but all invoices are handled digitally. This results in a media disruption that is overcome by manually inputting the information from the paper slip into the invoicing system. This job is highly time-consuming, error- prone, and nowadays more than redundant. With aFuel, you automatically eliminate that manual process, as no media disruption is present. A fuel slip is issued digitally and can be transferred into your invoicing system directly without any manual effort. In addition, every fuel slip from a connected airport will have the same format and data quality, streamlining the process even more.

It will relieve your employees, as the repetitive task gets eliminated and the overall process quality will improve. Further automation could enhance the fuel slip and invoice handling even further – specific actions for that need to be defined by the airlines individually. Eliminating media disruption is a huge benefit for every back-office department, as those generate unnecessary efforts and sub-par process quality. With aFuel, we help airlines to eliminate just one more of those and pave the way to fully digitalized and connected back-office workflows.

Data Quality

The massively improved data fueling quality is a true gamechanger enabled by aFuel. Over are the days of paper fuel slips that need to be transferred manually into your system. With aFuel, you immediately get the same level of data quality at every station and from every supplier in a digital form. This cuts down the back-office workload as previously described and opens new opportunities for performance monitoring and process improvements. Now, airlines can communicate with the into-plane agents in real-time and exchange far more information than ever before. Fuel orders are recorded – both preliminary and final, real-time process milestones are exchanged, and extensive digital fuel slips, including all relevant information, are issued. This allows airlines to create a digital twin of every single fueling process individually, but more importantly, a performance overview per station or across the whole network.Monitoring and comparing performance across the network opens a whole new set of process improvements. Knowing the top-performing stations makes it possible to copy specific details that are done differently there and apply those to other more struggling stations. The opportunities are sheer endless here. The fueling data is available extensively and uniformly, allowing airlines to integrate it into their overall turnaround analysis. The potential for process improvements and better stability is enormous, but airlines need to make the best use of the newly available fueling data to find areas of improvement that hold the most potential. 

Carbon Footprint

Talking about aircraft fueling and sustainability sounds rather odd as flying is often labeled as one of the biggest climate killers. And considering that aFuel does not reduce fuel consumption, the question of how it can improve the carbon footprint of an airline arises. When it comes to improving sustainability, everybody thinks about global measures like switching to renewable energy or the rise of electrified mobility. Even though those are measures with a significant impact, they take much effort to complete or even progress. At the same time, sustainability can be improved by much smaller steps. The task of every company nowadays should be to identify every single one of those small opportunities to make a positive impact overall. aFuel offers two more of those small opportunities that are realized as a positive side effect. No additional efforts are needed. The digitalization of the operational fueling process makes it much more sustainable. Switching from paper-based exchange to a real-time digital communication eliminates the paper wasted in this process, and the upfront communication of tankering flights eliminates the CO2 emissions of unnecessary fuel truck movements — two tiny improvements with a positive impact on sustainability. The complete elimination of paper in the operational fueling process might be the most straight-forward sustainability improvement of aFuel. Assuming that airlines running a non-digital fueling process use five pieces of paper per fueling process, a substantial number of trees can be saved annually. The second positive impact on sustainability that aFuel brings is connected to the upfront communication of the tankering flights. Fuel truck movements related to such a flight are erased from your payment bill, and the CO2 emissions no longer have a negative impact. Considering the amount of tankering flight, this impact can vary drastically. Both measures have the potential to make a positive impact on the overall sustainability of an airline. We certainly know that both measures will not save the world, but they are just two more little steps towards a highly sustainable company. Especially as an airline, you need to look for those little positive changes to improve your carbon footprint.