Unitrans Avgas

The irony of Avgas transport

In broad terms, aviation gas ‘avgas’ is the highly specialized fuel used to power smaller piston-engine aircraft. These smaller aircraft are what one would usually find used by private pilots and commercial farmers for crop dusting etc. These aircraft have engines that work in a similar manner to the engines found in everyday cars, but require specialized fuel to power their higher performance requirement.

*Commercial (larger turbine-powered) aircraft are usually powered by ‘jet fuel’ which has an entirely different chemical composition and – by basic definition – is more like kerosene.

Much like regular fuel, Avgas comes in various formulations and grades (each of which is colour-coded). What distinguished it most from vehicle fuel is that most commonly used grades of avgas are still ‘leaded’ containing tetraethyl lead (TEL). There is ongoing R&D by various avgas producers aimed at eliminating the use of TEL in avgas. Read more about that in this interesting article, by the Smithsonian.

The great irony about Avgas (and Jet Fuel) is that while it is needed to power an aircraft, you cannot transport volumes of it by air. Due to its highly volatile nature it has to be transported under the strictest controls. This is where Unitrans Africa’s end-to-end petrochemical transport solutions come in.

During transport, each grade of avgas must be kept under certain conditions to avoid contamination. Each type of fuel needs to be transported in its own tanker. Unitrans Africa’s fleet includes state-of-the-art equipment designed for transporting petroleum products such as Jet Fuel and Avgas.

There are dedicated vehicles for the various levels of hazardous chemicals. All these bulk carriers need to carry the necessary certification to transport Avgas and this certification must be displayed on the Operator Card for each vehicle and trailer. Read more about the general transportation of Hazardous Goods, here.

In addition to transport, storage of Avgas and Jet Fuel is highly specialized. The USCS Petroleum and Warehousing division holds a market-leading position throughout the Avgas value chain. Our services include warehousing solutions for Avgas and JetA1 (among various others).

Our business model is driven by customer centricity and operational excellence underpinned by a relentless drive to be the safest logistics service provider thereby embracing all the SHEQ requirements and standards as governed by our customers and the petrochemicals industry.

Unitrans Africa is a leader in the transportation industry in Africa, with a strong footprint in countries across Southern Africa. Customers can be assured of the Group’s commitment to driving innovation in their service delivery, save on costs wherever possible and maintain high safety standards in all their operations.

Find out more about the transport of Avgas, Jet Fuel, and other hazardous chemicals here: https://www.unitrans.africa/fuel-chemicals-gas/