A new aviation fuel storage system at Williams Gateway Airport will be built to meet a demand for fuel that is growing in tandem with the airport’s activities, a spokeswoman said.
The airport dispensed 531,000 gallons of fuel to aircraft in January, a 50 percent increase in sales over the same period last year, said Marie Frank, airport spokeswoman.
Like many other airports, Williams operates its own fuel provision service. It stores, sells and pumps jet and aviation fuel for both tenant and visiting aircraft, said Craig Herget, ramp operations manager, who oversees fueling at the airport.
By providing the service, officials ensure safety in transporting and dispensing the fuel and support the airport’s success, Herget said.
"Any airport without fuel would die," he said.
But the higher demand also is putting stress on the existing system’s filters and pumps, he said.
With two 25,000 gallon tanks and one 5,000 gallon tank, the high demand means fuel is often used as quickly as deliveries are made.
"And right now, if I had to do maintenance on one of the tanks, 50 percent of my capacity would be out of commission," Herget said.
Part of the demand is from the airport’s contract with the Defense Energy Supply Center, which allows aircraft from various government departments to receive fuel at the airport.
The current three-year contract ends in March, but it was just renewed for another three years, Herget said.
"We’ve fueled Air Force One. We just fueled Air Force Two last month when Vice President Dick Cheney visited," he said.
The $1.4 million state-ofthe-art storage system will be built on the airport’s southwest side, Herget said. It will have six 25,000 tanks and one 12,000 gallon tank and replace the old system, which will be dismantled and sold, Herget said.
Contractors have started working on the new pumping system, but a contract has yet to be put out to bid for the storage tanks themselves.
"I’m hopeful we’ll break ground the first of May," Herget said.