Edmonton Airport speeds re-fueling for cargo jets with pipeline to planes

CANADA's Edmonton International Airport is speeding air cargo refueling stops with a new C$36 million (US$27

16 March 2021 - 19:00
CANADA's Edmonton International Airport is speeding air cargo refueling stops with a new C$36 million (US$27.million) infrastructure investment, reports New York's FreightWaves.

The new hydrant system will tie into Shell Aviation's new fuel farm, eliminating the need for tanker trucks to ferry fuel half a kilometre to the apron.

Large jet aircraft can require 10 to 15 separate truckloads of jet fuel to fill their tanks. Trucks have to wait their turn, hook up multiple times and make sure they are grounded to prevent dangerous sparks.

The new mobile pump will be permanently located by the cargo parking area and only require one quick hook up to the aircraft's fuel port.

The expansion project is designed to accommodate growth in air shipments and support exports, a key federal government priority, said the report.

Cargo operations have grown significantly during the past five years and were up 7.5 per cent in 2020 to 101.4 million pounds despite a significant drop in passenger flights and the belly cargo they carry.

From 2014 to 2018, the airport posted a 25-fold increase in international overseas exports from its facilities. Last month, Ottawa announced it would provide matching funds for the upgrades under a grant program that prioritises infrastructure that can enhance the movement of cross-border trade.

'It's much more efficient for the planes to fuel, more efficient for the fueling company and better for the environment,' said airport vice president Myron Keehn. 'It speeds up the refueling so those cargo planes can get back up into the air.'

And the quicker planes get in the air, the less space the airport needs to build for more aircraft on the ground, he said.

The fuel system may optimise space usage, but the airport authority is still adding two additional widebody aircraft parking positions, including a connection to the runway. When completed, there will be parking for six cargo aircraft at the same time.

The third piece of the project is construction of an additional 15,000-square feet of cold storage space for temperature-sensitive and perishable products, which will nearly triple the size of its Fresh Cargo Centre.

Edmonton has many bio-pharmaceutical companies and medical research centres, and the airport is one of only three in North America that has been certified by the International Air Transport Association for excellence in handling pharmaceutical products.

'The growth in e-commerce is going to open up opportunities [and] drive more additional air cargo,' Mr Keehn said. 'We're looking at the airport as part of a multi-modal hub.'

The airport said design work for the project is now underway with construction to start in late 2021, as weather allows, and last for two years.

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