Contactless Fuel Ordering with ForeFlight Mobile
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an entirely new emphasis to issues of health and cleanliness and spurred the development of “social distancing” solutions aimed at mitigating direct in-person contact wherever possible. As an industry that is inherently focused on travel, the world of aviation is more limited in how it can respond to this rapidly changing landscape; however, focusing on each individual person-to-person interaction – between crew members, crew and passengers, crew and FBO staff, etc. – and devising creative strategies to reduce close contact without interrupting the essential flow of business is the key to adapting to this new world.
Focusing in on one such interaction – between crew and FBO staff – ForeFlight Mobile offers a solution that not only promotes social distancing but also makes these interactions more efficient even without the context of COVID-19. ForeFlight’s Fuel Orders and Releases feature enables pilots, crew, and even flight support staff such as dispatchers to communicate the flight’s fuel needs to FBO staff electronically, greatly reducing the need for in-person exchanges.
Included in ForeFlight’s “Performance” subscription plans for individual and business accounts, the feature is built into ForeFlight’s streamlined flight planning workflow, accessible near the bottom of the Flights view that pilots use to plan and file their flight plans. After determining the flight’s estimated fuel requirements using ForeFlight’s highly accurate planning engine, pilots can issue Fuel Orders to arrange for a refill at their destination airport.
After comparing all available prices at the airport and selecting an FBO and fuel type, finalizing and submitting the fuel order is a straightforward process. ForeFlight automatically calculates the amount of fuel required to top off the tanks after the flight and sets this quantity as the order’s default amount, with associated per-unit and total price also calculated. The pilot can specify whether they want to fuel on departure or arrival at the FBO, specify estimated times for each, and add any additional comments or requests for FBO staff. Sending the Fuel Order will generate an email with all relevant information and send it to the FBO’s on-file email address. The email includes a “Confirm Receipt” button, which once clicked will alert the pilot that their Fuel Order has been received and acknowledged by FBO staff.
Fuel Orders have the additional benefit of doubling as “Fuel Releases” for pilots who participate in one or more jet fuel discount programs. Using ForeFlight’s online JetFuelX platform to organize and update their various contract fuel prices at FBOs around the world, pilots can then access these prices in ForeFlight and incorporate them into Fuel Orders. Selecting a fuel card that supports “mobile” fuel releases and sending the order will notify not only the destination FBO but also the selected fuel card’s issuer, allowing them to contact the FBO directly and arrange for the fuel to be released at the lower contract price.
Although ForeFlight released this feature well before COVID-19 brought historic urgency to the development of socially-distanced solutions, it’s easy to see how Fuel Orders and Releases can play a positive role in this new world. By moving the process of ordering fuel to a virtual and mobile-first system we can reduce in-person contact at FBOs, avoid miscommunications that could happen over the phone, and increase the overall efficiency of this common and critical interaction.