Over the past few decades, the number of air travelers that use Tucson International Airport (TUS) in Tucson, Arizona, has grown. As a result, airlines have added flights, resulting in the need for a larger jet fuel supply to keep up with the increased demand.
The original jet fuel facility at TUS was designed by Burns & McDonnell back in the 1970s. It met airlines’ jet fuel needs for a long time, but after so many decades in use, the facility became outdated. In 2014, Tucson Airport Authority leaders met with eight airlines — Alaska, American, Avelo, Delta, FedEx, SkyWest, Southwest and United — and formed the fuel consortium TUS Fuel Facilities LLC to begin discussions about what to do next.
After TUS Fuel Facilities LLC took over fueling operations at TUS, the consortium hired Burns & McDonnell in 2016 to conduct a detailed analysis of the existing facility. The goal of the analysis was to determine what changes (if any) could be made to the existing fuel facility so that it could meet airlines’ current and future jet fuel needs. The analysis verified that the mechanical systems were at least 30 years old and the electrical systems were in poor shape. The eight underground storage tanks were also single-walled, meaning they were non-compliant with current federal regulations. New fuel tanks must be double-walled for environmental safety reasons.
After determining the scope and cost for retrofitting the existing facility to keep up with demand, it was determined the cost to build a new fuel facility with above-ground tanks and a new operations building was similar to the cost to upgrade the existing outdated underground tank system. The consortium therefore decided to build new.