A BIG PICTURE APPROACH
Fueling master plan facilitates changing, streamlining the distribution easier at JFK
John Boyce, Contributing Editor
As JFK International Airport looks to the future, it has created a fueling master plan that stretches to 2020. Gerard Biscardi, the general supervisor for aviation fueling for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who recently oversaw the development of the fueling master plan, figures getting a bad report card could be a good thing.
The most necessary - and realistic - phase of the master plan looked at traffic as it relates to fuel consumption out to 2005. Subsequent-ly, the Air Transport Associ-ation made an audit of JFK fuel systems and concluded that what the master plan called for in the next five years was, indeed, necessary, but it was needed sooner.
Biscardi requested the master plan because "we realized an opportunity to be more efficient. We just had an ATA audit and they found out we're working on the master plan and they don't even want to wait five years. That's good for me. I mean, getting a bad report card is sometimes good."
Design pre-dates commingling
The hydrant fuel system at JFK has been improved and updated over the years, but it's still a 35-year-old system. It was not designed to handle the current huge consumption peaks and 1.3 billion gallon annual uplift - an uplift that shows no signs of decreasing and is, indeed, expected to increase. It is a system that pre-dates the commingling of jet fuel. "We've acknowledged (in the master plan) that the configuration of the system at JFK will not meet future demands of the airport," Biscardi says.
"It's not the capacity of the system, the system is tremendous, it's just not configured to meet the needs. When it was built, it was built to meet a certain need --- four varieties of fuels with nine different owners all segregated by ownership or type of fuel. Now we're commingled. We just lack flexibility (in the system).
"We've peaked out on a couple of days when we get these four million-plus (gallon) days. As a matter of fact, we're pumping out faster than we're bringing it into the satellite facility. We've had some tense moments.
"We've had no breakdowns; I mean we've had no fueling-related delays, but it could be done so much more efficiently."
As currently configured, JFK's fuel system comprises two fuel farms. The bulk storage facility of 62 tanks amounting to 28 million gallons is on the perimeter of the airport. The other is a satellite farm of forty 100,000 gallon tanks (four million gallons total) some 2.2 miles in from the bulk farm.
Fuel is almost constantly flowing into the system, and moves from bulk storage to satellite and then onto the nine central terminals through 28 fuel systems or individual pipelines. Cargo aircraft and regional and commuter airlines are fueled with forty-five 10,000-gallon and ten 5,000-gallon refuelers.
The major problem, as Biscardi and the master planners see it, is the transmission of fuel from the bulk farm to the satellite facility. "That's our weakest link," Biscardi says.
"We're emptying out our satellite virtually quicker than we can fill it back up.
"Right now, we could be loaded with fuel - and this has actually happened - but a particular terminal could be hitting very hard and actually be running out of fuel and we would not be able to replenish that tank as fast as we're emptying it. Meanwhile, all the tanks surrounding it are full. Through some manifolding and some consolidation, we anticipate making the place much more efficient."
In simple terms, the master plan, recommends installing three large fuel pumping devices and some new 20-inch line at the bulk storage facility. The satellite tanks will be completely eliminated and be replaced by a master manifold that will send fuel to anywhere on the airport through the current 28 fuel systems.
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