Fuel Lease Transfer Project

Fuel Lease Transfer Project

Location: Los Angeles


Completion Date: 2015

In order to meet passenger and economic demand, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is in 2014 undergoing a massive modernization, expansion and renovation program. As part of this airport renovation program, the airport fueling system will require an upgrade and expansion. Burns & McDonnell is working under Los Angeles World Airport Authority (LAWA) projects and in conjunction with airline consortium LAXFUEL to expand the LAX fuel transfer line infrastructure and install a new international hydrant system within the overall facility distribution system. Burns & McDonnell will also be assisting with various issues surrounding the incorporation of all of the hydrant systems around the numerous concourses at LAX into one operating system that LAXFUEL maintains. These hydrant systems are maintained by airlines operating at each concourse or LAWA in conjunction with their independent refueling contractors. When complete, LAXFUEL will operate and maintain the entire fuel system and refueling operations at LAX. Burns & McDonnell will be providing construction/design-build services for the upgrade and modification of the jet fuel hydrant system around LAX.

In preparation for the lease transfer of the fuel hydrant systems at the terminals, LAXFUEL retained Burns & McDonnell to perform baseline assessments of each existing fuel system:

  • Terminal 1 - LAWA
  • Terminal 2 - LAWA
  • Terminal 3 - LAWA
  • Terminal 5 - Delta
  • Terminal 6/7/8 - United
  • Tom Bradley International Terminal, Remote Gates - LAWA
  • FedEx Cargo - FedEx

Each baseline assessment will consist of a mechanical component and an environmental component. The mechanical component of the assessment includes compiling existing as-built drawings, field confirmation and evaluation of the current condition, an inventory of system components, recommended repairs necessary for each of the hydrant systems to meet industry standards, and documentation of the system on CAD drawings. To provide a better system to collect, organize, and report field data, Burns & McDonnell has developed a mobile application loaded with aerial imagery and the latest LAX fuel system CAD files. This application will expedite the data collection activities in the field, allowing the user to enter data electronically via a ruggedized tablet computer in a standardized checklist format, take photos, draw sketches, and get the GPS location of a pit while they are looking at it. This program will keep the data organized in a database and also display it in a map view. Field data collection will involve walking each system, evaluating the hydrant system surface features (hydrant fuel pits, low point drain pits, high point vent pits, and isolation valve pits) with the fuel system operator to provide any maintenance information and historical knowledge about the system.

Since LAX is the third busiest airport in the U.S. and the fifth busiest in the world, conducting construction projects at LAX is a challenge. Coordination with the LAWA, City of Los Angeles and LAXFUEL is complex and requires numerous updates and meetings. Close coordination with the airport construction management team is ongoing to limit effects on airport operations.

  • Design-build services for modification of existing fueling hydrant system
  • Assessment of baseline environmental conditions prior to lease transfer

Before 1985, the fuel supply chain at LAX was a markedly different operation. Separate fuel facilities were owned by individual fuel suppliers (oil companies), leaving airlines few choices for their fuel purchasing options. In 1985, the airlines formed a consortium, known as LAXFUEL Corp., and purchased the oil company facilities at the airport, leased the property and right-of-ways from the airport authority, finance the acquisitions and improvements, and manage the fuel infrastructure and operations. Designed to create an open market, the creation of LAXFUEL also enabled member airlines to share one fuel storage facility on airport property. The cooperation of LAWA was essential to facilitate the creation of this integrated fuel storage and distribution system. Additional off-site storage facilities were also leased by LAXFUEL, allowing the airlines to purchase and store fuel near the airport. The fuel is comingled and accounting of fuel usage and inventory is handled by the fuel system operator.

During a five-year development period from 1991-1996, at a cost of $125 million, the facilities were consolidated into a central fuel farm at the airport. Burns & McDonnell worked with LAWA and LAXFUEL to design and build the 600,000-barrel fuel storage facility that integrated the oil company facilities and new storage capacity with existing fuel hydrant systems. It features 15 large storage tanks and a state-of-the-art filtration system, as well as 18 pumps that dispense fuel at a rate of 1,200 gallons per minute. It has an on-airport capacity of more than 600,000 barrels of fuel and is fed by four pipelines from a variety of fuel supply sources. Three off-airport storage locations provide an additional capacity of 1.5 million barrels.

Tasks associated with the environmental component of the assessment include:

  • Gathering historical environmental information for each terminal from LAWA, current and former tenants, and the County of Los Angeles
  • Development of environmental baseline criteria for unbiased review of existing environmental information
  • Summarizing historical environmental information in a single report for each terminal