Gazpromneft-Aero, operator of the Gazprom Neft aviation refuelling business, delivered a 16% increase in sales of aviation fuels in the first half of 2021, reaching 1.6 million tonnes. Direct “wing-tip-refuelling” sales were up 14%, to 1 million tonnes. Most growth in aviation fuel sales was achieved through Russia’s largest international airports, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and Novosibirsk.
Gazpromneft-Aero’s retail network has now expanded to cover 321 airports throughout 71 countries worldwide as at end-H1 2021, with the company increasing refuelling volumes for Chinese carriers Sichuan Airlines, China Eastern, and Air China in particular, with sales up 63%. A contract has also been entered into with Chinese cargo airline SF Airlines on refuelling transcontinental flights at Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo Airport. Servicing of passenger and cargo flights for Chinese carriers is handled as part of ongoing strategic cooperation with China’s national fuel supplier, China National Aviation Fuel Group Corp (CNAF).
Gazpromneft-Aero began rolling out its proprietary SmartFuel blockchain platform at Russian airports in 2021, allowing fuel suppliers and airlines to dispense with pre-payments and instead make instant reciprocal settlements immediately on refuelling aircraft. This digital service is already in operation at Murmansk, Novosibirsk and Saratov I nternational Airports, with the blockchain platform expected to be rolled out to a further 10 Russian airports by the end of the year.
“Thanks to the recovery in air travel — in Russia and abroad — we’re practically back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of aviation fuel sales. We’re expecting to further increase sales of high-quality petroleum products to our clients, and are also standing by to being new kinds of aviation fuel to market. This year, for example, Gazprom Neft’s Omsk Refinery began producing JET A-1 fuel — much sought after in international aviation. In addition to which, together with our partners, we’re planning to start developing environmentally friendly aviation fuel — SAF* — which will reduce air transport’s carbon footprint.”Vladimir Egorov Director General, Gazpromneft-Aero
* Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a low-carbon-footprint aviation fuel, produced from plant-based feedstocks. Using SAF can cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.
Gazprom Neft’s Smart Fuel system is the first digital system in Russia to support instant payments in “wing-tip” aviation refuelling. Blockchain system architecture uses immutable smart-contract algorithms that store information about a transaction and the parties involved. Refuelling orders, payments and the exchange of accounting information all occur online through apps held on tablets operated by the aircraft pilot and the refuelling operator. Smart Fuel is officially registered as a Russian software programme by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.