Aviation Africa 2019: African airports welcome Air BP’s Airfield Automation technology

Air BP, a leading supplier of aviation fuel products and services, has unveiled that it has successfully launched its innovative Airfield Automation technology at nine airports across Mozambique and South Africa.

Speaking at this year’s Aviation Africa summit and exhibition taking place in Kigali, Rwanda from 27-28 February, Anthony Leon, general manager, Southern Africa, Air BP said:

“We’ve started by launching Airfield Automation at seven locations in Mozambique and two in South Africa, but the plan is to roll out the technology across all our locations in Africa by 2020.”

The platform has already been launched at airports in the UK, Cyprus, Portugal and Albania. “All the learning that’s come from rolling out the technology in those locations will benefit us as we deploy the technology¬† in Africa,” adds Leon.

Preventing misfuelling

With misfuelling one of the key challenges faced by the industry, Airfield Automation is working to prevent this. The cloud-based platform that consolidates data related to airport fuelling operations and works via an app on a handheld device in fuelling vehicles. The app captures fuel volume readings and provides fuel grade checks to add an additional misfuelling barrier. Customer details are also captured and confirmed electronically making it a fully automated, end-t0-end paperless system where accuracy is enhanced and any potential miskeying errors are minimised.

“The key benefit is to prevent misfuelling,” notes Leon. “But other benefits include the quick and seamless integration of data. Customers can have their fuelling data in their systems instantaneously. In addition, the oil company can have it in their invoicing and pricing systems and the airport operations team will have that data in their scheduling and stock systems in real time. It’s fascinating how quickly the data flows. Typically to get a ticket price across to a customer’s database can take anything up to 48 hours, but with Airfield Automation it only takes around three seconds.”

He also divulges that the aim is to eventually have licence agreements with other non-BP partners to use the technology.

Africa as a growing market

Air BP has an established presence in airports across the continent and currently supplies fuel at 40 network locations and works with around 50 customers at nine locations in South Africa, 10 in Egypt, seven in Tunisia, seven in Mozambique, two in Morocco, two in Cape Verde and one each in Mauritius, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, is the latest addition to the fuel supplier’s network as it looks to expand its network in West Africa and across the continent. “Nigeria is a material market and we saw an opportunity for us to work with a local partner and so far its going well,” concludes Leon.

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