The risk of over-engineered solutions

As demand on airports increases, airport operators are needing to invest in the development or extension of their facilities. Aviation fuel is a major consideration in these plans, as a fuel facility that isn’t up to scratch can have a significant impact on the efficiency of an airport. Many airports looking to upgrade unwisely end up with “gold-plated” facilities – in other words, over-designed or over-engineered solutions.

If we are investing in a new purchase, we naturally want the best, something state of the art; yet the key consideration for an airport operator must be a fit-for-purpose solution that is also cost-effective.

If a jet fuel facility is too large or too complex, it costs significantly more to operate and maintain. This may not be as obvious as it sounds. We have calculated that over the lifecycle of the infrastructure, this additional cost can outweigh the original capital cost by several hundred percent.

The risk is that operational performance is hampered by facilities that are too large or too complex. It means that operating costs are higher and have to be passed on to end users (airlines) as higher fees and tariffs – not just in the short term, but for the entire life of the facility (20 years or more perhaps). The knock-on effect is losing flights and passenger footfall, in a market where all airports are competing for routes. Inevitably this puts unnecessary pressure on an operation.

Without exception, technical activities must result in a fit-for-purpose solution in full accordance with industry standards and codes, and in compliance with relevant legislation.

However, in our experience, it is equally vital to ensure a facility is not only cost-effective but will also enhance efficiency, rather than choosing a solution that might be above your needs and long term means.

Here at eJet we implement best practice throughout the design, engineering, construction management and project management of aviation fuel facility developments that we are involved with. We vehemently avoid unnecessary ‘gold-plated’ features that are not in the best interest of the airport and the aviation fuel operation itself. The operational experience that our people have is fundamental in this – after all, if one does not know how something should be used it is impossible to design it correctly.

Proper planning, therefore, becomes all-important and advice should be sought from us at the earliest possible stage if you’re to set the gold standard and avoid the gold plating.

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