In May 2013, the Copperchase affiliate company, United National Oil Service Limited (UNOS) was awarded a ten year contract by the Najaf International Airport authority for the into-plane supply of JET A-1 aviation fuel.
Previously fuel stocks held in Najaf had been stored in a military styled “bladder” and a number of major airlines had felt the quality control of the fuel for the prevention of contamination by water or other substances was not appropriate for them to be able to consider uplifting fuel in Najaf. This has led to carriers being forced to carry “return trip” fuel on flights into Najaf, which has been expensive both in additional fuel burn for carrying the additional fuel and, more importantly, has resulted in baggage and even passengers being offload at the airport of departure owing to having to carry more fuel than was technically required to meet the single sector requirement.
As part of its master plan for improving the fuel service at Najaf UNOS has over the last three months undertaken a multi-million dollar refurbishment of the previously unexploited fuel farm at Najaf International Airport. This refurbishment has included the overhaul of the stainless steel fuel storage tanks including the installation of a stainless steel floating suction system and a Central Control and Monitoring system to monitor and control fuel level, flow, temperature, pressure and density. Additional quality control is assured by a three stage water separator and filtration system, and the construction of a purpose built laboratory for fuel testing. A new-build stainless steel pipeline connecting the fuel farm to the airport apron is also under construction to permit refuelling tankers to be replenished “airside”, thus removing the need for this heavy transport to be using the airport landside road system. This pipeline is also the first step toward the future hydrant dispenser fuelling points which are planned for the aircraft parking stands. To match the improved facility UNOS has also introduced two new-build 38,000 litre Titan Aviation fuel tankers to ensure an additional level of quality control with their on-board filtration systems.
It is planned that UNOS will be in a position to supply fuel into-plane at the start of October 2013, and will then take over fuel supply from the existing franchisee.