Operations at a major international airport rarely slow
down. Modifying hydrant pit locations, upgrading fuel
system valves and piping, or shutting down the fuel
system requires detailed planning and coordination.
Typically, this can only happen overnight — after 10
p.m. and before 6 a.m. — and, with contingency built
into the schedule, a fuel shutdown may last for as
little as four hours. Aircraft operations for passenger
aircraft usually start between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., and
may not shut down until after midnight.
Planning for a fueling project starts with design and
coordination with all stakeholders: airlines, airport
operations personnel, the fueling system operator, the
fire department and others. The smoothest projects
involve detailed planning with contingencies.
The planning involves designing modifications so that
tie-in can be done in this short window of time. Typically
Burns & McDonnell schedules construction of new
equipment so that it is completed with only a quick
crossover to be completed in the short window. Careful
consideration needs to be taken for fuel quality and
flushing of systems a;ected by welding steel fuel piping.
Examples of well-coordinated fueling system
upgrades include the modernization of Terminal 1 at
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California
and a recent isolation valve installation at Portland
International Airport (PDX) in Oregon.
LAX TERMINAL 1
Modernization of Terminal 1 at LAX led to a
reconfiguring of gates, and that prompted the need
for an essential shift: Because a hydrant pit for fuel
must to be near the fuel port on the wing of each
aircraft, many of the hydrant pits would need to
be relocated. Burns & McDonnell came to the job
with more than 30 years of experience designing
and constructing major portions of the airport’s
jet fuel system, including a major renovation of the
LAXFUEL system the late ’80s and early ’90s and
continuing with two recent projects: the Tom Bradley
International Terminal (TBIT), plus the Midfield
Satellite Concourse now under design. As part of
the latest project, in relocating Terminal 1’s hydrant
fuel pits, the hydrant had to be flushed for the first
time since the terminal opened for the 1984 Olympic
Games. Because the fuel system must be shut down
during flushing and aircraft cannot be fueled until the
BY Grant Smith and Dan Eekho;, MBA
HYDRANT FUEL UPGRADES
Consider Design-Build When It Absolutely, Positively Has to be Done Overnight
For fueling projects, design and
coordination with all stakeholders —
including airlines, airport operations
personnel, the fueling system
operator and the fire department —
are good places to start.
Developing detailed planning
and contingencies also is key.