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Gazprom Neft experts share their views on the development of the aviation refuelling market

Gazpromneft-Aero, operator of Gazprom Neft’s aviation refuelling business, was the innovation partner at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon. The forum, which took place between 20 and 25 July in Zhukovsky, just outside Moscow, brought together representatives from Russian and international airlines, aircraft-building companies, service companies and regulators. Gazpromneft Aero used the MAKS-2021 air show to present the first outcomes from its Smart Fuel instant aviation-refuelling payments blockchain platform. Company experts also discussed the outlook for developing environmentally friendly aviation fuel in Russia with representatives from the aviation industry.

The Smart Fuel platform’s expanded functionality was presented to participants at the event’s “Flights Without Borders” roundtable, organised by Airbus — part of the global “Keep Trust in Air Travel” initiative, directed at securing the quickest possible recovery in international air travel under the COVID-19 pandemic through the deployment of digital services and new safety standards. Using the Smart Fuel platform eliminates any direct contact between aircraft crew and ground staff completely. All operations occur online using apps on the pilot’s and the fuel-dispensing operator’s tablets.

“Using the Smart Fuel programme, we have made the process of preparing aircraft for flight as safe and reliable as we can for crews and ground staff. Our service has, already, been deployed at several international airports throughout Russia, with more than 600 flights already refuelled using Gazprom Neft’s blockchain platform. We expect to have expanded use of the Smart Fuel programme to 10 more Russian airports by the end of 2021, making air travel even more safe and convenient.”
Dmitry Makarov
Dmitry Makarov Head of the Gazprom Neft Smart Fuel programme
“We at the Association of Russian Tour Operators are convinced that developing new solutions and digitising pandemic-travel documents — and various countries and international organisations making these consistent at the regulatory level — is the most effective route to reviving tourism worldwide. We would also like to highlight, specifically, initiatives from aviation market players — for example, Airbus’ mathematical model for assessing the risks of COVID-19 spreading through travel, and the contactless aviation refuelling solution developed by our colleagues at Gazprom Neft.”
Dmitry Gorin
Dmitry Gorin Vice President, Association of Russian Tour Operators

A second roundtable discussion involving Gazprom Neft experts highlighted the decarbonisation of the air transport industry and reductions in CO2 emissions, with representatives from Airbus, Rolls Royce, Neste, Aeroflot, Volga-Dnepr airlines and the Civil Aviation Research Institute discussing the issues involved in reducing carbon-intensity including, first and foremost, through new kinds of aircraft and through the production of more environmentally friendly — “sustainable” aviation fuel — (SAF). Gazprom Neft experts shared their successful experience in bringing their international JET A-1-brand fuel — which went into commercial production at the company’s Omsk Refinery in 2021 — to market, with company representatives also demonstrating Gazprom Neft’s technological capabilities in developing, producing and distributing new types of products.

“Together with airlines, aircraft manufacturers and state regulators we are ready to initiate the research necessary for SAF production and certification in Russia. Gazprom Neft’s Industrial Innovations Technology Centre in St Petersburg could serve as an integrated and cohesive platform for developing ‘green’ jet fuel. This research and production cluster’s functionality allows full-cycle basic research on and the subsequent pilot testing of new technologies.”
Anton Dianov
Anton Dianov Head, Strategic Development Programmes, Commercial Directorate, Gazprom Neft
“Aeroflot is actively involved in government programmes on driving legislation on carbon regulation. We are open to dialogue with all aviation market players, and support the implementation of SAF-certification initiatives in Russia — something that will reduce environmental impacts. The company only operates modern aircraft these days, and undertakes a large number of environmental initiatives on a voluntary basis: Aeroflot is, voluntarily, fully ISO 14001-certified, and complies with all international environmental regulation standards.”
Tatiana Turanskaya Head, Quality Control Department, Aeroflot
Notes for editors

Gazprom Neft subsidiary Gazpromneft-Aero handles aviation fuel sales and “wing-tip” aviation refuelling at 320 airports throughout 71 countries, worldwide. Gazpromneft-Aero’s clients include more than 260 Russian and international airlines.

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.