Paying for fuel in the UK is a straightforward procedure and it is rare that you are unable to use a credit card. There is the occasional aeroclub that will prefer cash on a weekend, and the odd exceptional airfield such as Breighton, which operates a self service pump for JetA1 and 100LL open 24/7.
In France it is common to find that, like Breighton, airfields operate a self-service pump. However, this pump does not take credit cards and will be affiliated to either Air BP or Air Total. At weekends it is wise to carry plenty of Euros as you may find that the only way to refuel is to find a friendly person with the appropriate card and reimburse him or her with your wad of cash.
The answer is to get a fuel card. The application for a Sterling Air BP card is fairly straightforward. The card itself is issued either for JetA1 or 100LL and is linked to a particular aircraft registration. In practice, operators do not seem too worried as to the identity of the aircraft. There are at present about 40 Air BP stations in France and 9 in Belgium so it is well worth getting the card.
If you really want to fly round Europe stress free, you need an Air Total card. This tantalising map demonstrates the value in having an Air Total card. For years this was impossible to all those who did not have a French bank account. Recently a slightly relaxation of EU rules has made it possible to apply from the UK. The form however is extremely ‘French’ and four months into the procedure Helipaddy has still not succeeded in getting a card.
The application requires;
- Completed registration form
- Deposit of 5000 euros
- Proof of Swift
- Documentation from your Bank
- Aircraft registration
- Utility Bills
- SEPA authorisation
to be posted to;
TOTAL MARKETING FRANCE
Direction aviation - Service Clients - Bureau A1322
24, Cours Michelet
92069 PARIS LA DEFENSE CEDEX - FRANCE
Only original documents need apply.
You will probably need this contact too:
Aviation Customer Service
Phone: +33 126.96.36.199.09
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org