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Fill ‘er up please! Fuelling up airplanes is a lot more in depth than you may think By Bill Burfoot


Aircraft being refuelled.


through their gates. To state the obvious, that’s a lot of flights coming and going from the airport. Many of us, when we are set to travel whether it’s for work, visiting family, or on an adventure to some tropical island to take a break from the harsh winter conditions, we usually have our minds on anything but how the entire pro- cess really works to get a plane off the ground.


T One of the most underrated but defi-


nitely most important jobs in the pro- cess is the fuel. After all, have you ever tried to start your car without gas — it doesn’t make it very far. For a plane, with no gas stations being up at 35,000 feet, getting the fuel right is crucial.


62 • Spring 2017


he Winnipeg Richardson International airport set a re- cord in 2016, with more than four-million passengers going


Te Aircraft Service International


Group of Canada (ASIG), who was recently acquired by Menzies Aviation on February 1st of this year for US$202 million, is the company in charge of the fuelling process at the Winnipeg Rich- ardson International Airport. Te person in charge of making sure the fuelling operations run as smooth as possible is Allan Ilott, Manager of Win- nipeg Fuel Operation for ASIG. Ilott says while filling up the aircraft with fuel is the end result, there’s a lot more that goes into it. “Te process is quite a bit more in depth than most people may think,” says Ilott who’s held his position for the last 10 years. Te rigorous testing process the fuel has to go through begins in Alberta. After being tested it’s shipped through pipeline to the Gretna pipeline where


they turn the pipe and divert it to ei- ther the distribution centre for Shell or IOL in Winnipeg. Once there the fuel is once again tested and brought up to specifications before the fuel gets deliv- ered by a local hauling company to the distribution centre at the airport. After it reaches the distribution centre at the airport the fuel is once again tested. Fi- nally, when the testing is done and it’s up to grade and into spec, it gets loaded into the airport’s tank farm. Te tank farm consists of two one-million litre tanks and one two-million litre tanks, which hold the fuel until its ready to be loaded onto an aircraft. “It’s quite a process, but it’s very im-


portant, and the fuel needs to be pris- tine because there is no second chance,” adds Ilott. “We’ve been doing this a long time, and there’s regulations in place to ensure there are no issues.”


The Hub


All photos by Bill Burfoot.


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