The oil marketing companies (OMCs) are seeking a concessional rate to develop fueling facility at smaller airports which will be operational under the government’s flagship Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). According to an official from the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, developing full-fledged fueling facility will take some time which may lead to delay in implementing the programme to put smaller airports on the aviation map. Also, at some airports it may not be beneficial for oil marketing companies to have large fueling set ups given the demand is expected be low due to limited flight operations. The ministry of civil aviation has already discussed the issue with counterparts from the petroleum ministry regarding development of fueling capacity in some of the airports under the RCS scheme.
A senior aviation ministry official said the aviation ministry will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the petroleum ministry regarding development of fuel capacity and spaces will be given to the OMCs at a concessional rate. The MoU will be signed once the petroleum ministry and the OMCs agree to the rates that will be offered. Meanwhile, the ministry of civil aviation has sought permission of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to allow using fuel bowsers, or oil tankers, at smaller airports where refueling facility is not available.
PESO is an arm under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion entrusted with the responsibility to ensure safety and security of the public and property from fire and explosion, and its permission is required for storing air turbine fuel (ATF). OMCs will use bowsers to refuel aircraft if the airport concerned have flights on a daily basis but lack fuel storage facility. In these cases, fuel will be ferried from the nearest ATF depot.
In certain airports such as Shimla where chartered aircraft used to operate before daily flight service started under RCS, make shift refueling stations already exist but substantial number of airports do not have the facility.
At major airports, OMCs only supply fuel to a common storage facility and special purpose vehicles (SPVs) formed by OMCs and airport operators dispense oil to aircraft through pipes laid under the runway and the parking area. For instance, at the Delhi airport an SPV named Delhi Aviation Fuel Facility has developed and maintains the fuelling facility. The SPV is jointly promoted by Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Delhi International Airport.