Aviation fuel supply management is a complex process that includes an entire chain of participants starting from the jet fuel suppliers and ending with airlines, each of them obligating to ensure the best quality of service for the sake of flight safety. But while the entire industry is actively moving forward to use state-of-the-art technologies, jet fuel supply is just starting to make first steps towards digitization. The most important changes are happening now, in front of our own eyes. 
 
Manual data processing tends to slow down the refueling process and cause delays in payments, while jet fuel constitutes about 20% of airline costs. As optimization of fuel management efficiency is a vital driver for the market, IATA and a pool of its partners took upon a mission to bring the industry to a new level by developing new digital data standards. See below our short guide on the Fuel Data Standards Group and the new digital standards:
 
1. Fuel Data Standards Group (FDSG).
The FDSG was formed by IATA in order to develop universal data exchange standards to be used at each key stage of the refueling process. FDSG includes representatives of major aviation companies, fuel suppliers and IT venders. Together with key partners, IATA forms global standards and solutions based on modern technological capabilities.
 
Vladimir Yegorov, CEO of Gazpromneft-Aero, one of the FDSG participants, emphasized: “With current technology, there is no justification in following processes and norms that were built for a manually operated world. The aviation fuel industry should, together with interested stakeholders, work to make full use of digitized processes and automation. Standardization will be fundamental for the success of this major shift”. 
 
2. What is an XML file?
XML is a universal digital format that had been developed for faster exchange of information and reduction of number of mistakes when filing the documents. It provides for better efficiency of fueling the aircraft. XML files have standardized structure and are user friendly for both machines and people. The format is supported by SAP, 1C and almost any other modern corporate ERP platform. 
 
 
3. Five XML standards – five pillars of the digital future
There are five XML standards for each stage of jet fuel supply: 
XML Fuel Tender Standard
According to IATA, up to 80% of effort in tendering is spent on administrative or data capture activities. For any airline operator nowadays processing the information from the suppliers can be remarkably time and human resources consuming. Implementing a unified XML based standard will allow the tender proposals to be analyzed automatically, and jet fuel procurement to be planned in a much more efficient manner. Airlines will be able to compare proposals like-with-like. 
 
XML Fuel Pre-Transaction Standard
The standardized format will allow airline operators to provide suppliers with real time information on the required fuel volumes, aircraft arrival times, estimated time of departure and refueling time frames as well as any other time-sensitive information. Every message contains four parameters: current fuel amount onboard, fuel order, refueling status, total fuel delivered.  
 
Online refueling request will help suppliers to schedule the arrival time and location of each tank truck correctly as well as to calculate the required fuel amount in advance.  
 
XML Fuel Transaction Standard
The following standard is the equivalent of the fuel ticket and contains all necessary details on the fueling procedure. The information can be transmitted via GSM module installed in the tank truck. It automates the movement of oil products and records the jet feel flow from a fueling station to the aircraft.
 
XML Fuel Invoice Standard
The XML standard automates the posting of invoices in an ERP. It reduces information processing time and improves cost efficiency of the operations. As soon as an XML formatted file is uploaded, the operator can start the bill reconciliation and the payment process.  
 
XML Fuel Reconciliation Standard
When the payment audit is digital both Airlines and jet fuel suppliers are able to detect the difference instantly. 

 
4. How does my company benefit from XML standards?
Unified industry data standards deliver substantial benefits for both air carriers and fuel supplier like better overall efficiency and cost reduction. Here are some other benefits that a company from the aviation industry would appreciate:
Improved data quality and accuracy
Improved staff productivity
Reduced number of disputes and queries
Improved timely invoice settlement and cash management
Improved customer service
Reduced cost of Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable (AP/AR) function
Reduced numbers of IT adaptors needed for the exchange of e-data with business partners