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Planes sitting on the tarmac are not profitable, cause queues and stop the smooth flow of passengers. An important factor in the efficient turnaround of an aircraft is refuelling. Each fuel truck needs to travel between the fuel depot and the planes dozens of times a day, and only by optimising delivery and reacting to constantly changing demands can the job be done efficiently.

FuelStar is the powerful solution developed by TouchStar that puts refuelling operations into the hands of an airport’s logistical planners. Drivers’ activities are fed back into the system via GPRS to influence decisions on a minute-by-minute basis. This means that the relationship between control centre and truck driver is a conversation, not a lecture. It’s a system that tolerates mishaps and changes of plan to create an almost uninterrupted flow of fuel to the tanks of waiting jets. The current location, load, status and next destination of every refuelling truck is visible on a colour- coded chart in the central control centre, an arrangement that gives immense power to the logistical decision-makers.

The process is virtually paper-free. Because delivery data is sent direct from the fuel meter to the TouchPC unit in the truck’s cabin, there is no more scribbling of figures or filling in fiddly forms - all the data is captured and forwarded to the control centre. Even the flight captain’s signature can be captured electronically by signing on the touchscreen, or a printout can be made in-situ and the receipt signed with a pen. Because all the refuelling fleet’s data is gathered centrally, basic networking enables the figures to be shared with other departments - accounts, invoicing, scheduling or a technical section - so that the latest information or archived material can be accessed. In combination with PDS’s rugged, reliable hardware, the FuelStar system can make refuelling manageable, controlled and efficient. Its results are quantifiable in terms of aircraft waiting time and passenger throughput.