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      Press Release
      May 16, 2024

      Maximizing Safety: Tires from Continental Help to Deliver Reliable Aircraft Refueling

      • High level of customer satisfaction: long-standing customer AFS counts on tires and service from Continental
      • Precise aircraft refueling: reliability and robustness are core requirements for the tires 
      • Fleet digitalization enhances safety and brings economic benefits too 

      Hanover, Germany, May 16, 2024. Premium tires from Continental stand out with their exceptional safety and utmost dependability – as AFS Aviation Fuel Services GmbH can confirm. The aircraft refueling services and airport tank storage facility management specialist is a loyal Continental customer, placing its trust in the Conti360° tire and service contract and the company’s renowned quality for many years now. "Continental is an extremely reliable and flexible partner, which enables us to specify the tires we need for the airport apron," says Managing Director Dr. Georg Pissarski.

      Functional reliability is a core requirement for the tires

      AFS is responsible for aircraft refueling at all the major airports in Germany and Austria. "We manage the fuel storage facilities at a large number of airports and send our fleet of 160 refueling vehicles out onto the apron to top up the aircraft," reports Pissarski. Each year, AFS replenishes aircraft with around 5.8 million cubic meters of jet fuel. "Functional reliability in any situation is the core requirement we have for these tires." And tires from Continental have been reliably ticking that box for AFS for almost four decades now. "With their robustness, Continental's premium tires guarantee a high level of operational safety and a long service life," says Timo Röbbel, Head of Marketing at Continental Tires. "Criteria that are particularly relevant for our long-standing customer AFS due to the tight time windows in airport operations."

      Safety creates peace of mind

      The Conti Hybrid tires used by AFS are ideally equipped to meet the exacting demands presented by operation on an airport apron. "Things often get pretty busy on the apron – and staying calm in that environment is very important in order to ensure safe refueling," says Pissarski. "The main challenge for tires is presented by the concrete of the apron, which is usually very rough. And you can add to that the often tight curve radii that our vehicles have to negotiate." These are conditions that the tires meet head on – with their wear resistance, robust tread structures and strong casings. "Our teams have the full spread of flight plans at their fingertips and ensure that the relevant refueling facilities are on hand exactly when they are needed every time, even if a flight schedule changes at short notice," explains Pissarski.

      An array of safety considerations have to be taken into account before the refueling process begins, while it is in progress and once it is completed. "So it really is incredibly important for us that we can ensure the operational safety of the vehicles at all times." 

      Digitalization adds value

      The logistics and transport sector as a whole is facing the challenge of digitalizing fleets to ensure they are efficient and equipped for the future. And AFS, which operates in such a hectic and safety-relevant setting, is pleased to be able to utilize digital processes to go about its work. "We call it ‘Pit to the customer’. We provide our customers, airlines and jet suppliers with live refueling data," says Managing Director Pissarski. "Our vehicles are also managed and monitored digitally." Information such as flight data can be viewed inside the vehicles. Added to which, technical functions and the quality of the kerosene need to be approved digitally before the refueling process begins. "We directly monitor the quality of the jet fuel digitally while the refuel is taking place. If the quality is not flawless, the refuel is immediately halted." The ContiConnect digital tire management system also fits the company’s philosophy when it comes to quality. "ContiConnect is interesting for us from both a safety and economy point of view," says Pissarski, who is currently looking into how the company might utilize the digital components of the tire management system.

      The challenge of sustainability for the aviation industry

      Climate neutrality, energy saving and the protection of resources is also a hot topic for airports, airline operators and service provides such as AFS: "The ongoing lack of a viable replacement for jet fuel represents a particular challenge for the aviation industry at present," sums up Pissarski. "Significant efforts are therefore being made to replace mineral-oil-based jet fuel with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)." This SAF is produced from renewable raw materials. "And it is also important for us as a services provider to make our airport offering carbon neutral." Alternative drive systems for the vehicles, efficient use of the energy-intensive tank storage facility pumps and efficiency-enhancing equipment for the refueling vehicles are all part of the picture here. And this is where the long-lasting and robust tires from Continental and digital tire management play their part at AFS.

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