What is the Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility?

The Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility (PAFF) is a single-purpose aviation fuel storage facility. Located at Tuen Mun Area 38, an industrial area zoned for use as a fuel depot, PAFF is managed by ECO Aviation Fuel Services Limited. The PAFF stores only one product — aviation fuel — which arrives by vessel and is transported to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) by submarine pipelines.


Why does Hong Kong need the PAFF?

The PAFF is needed to provide a secure, reliable supply of aviation fuel for the 750 flights that takeoff and land at HKIA each day. It will replace the fuel receiving facility off Sha Chau Island.

Without the PAFF, HKIA will not be able to meet future aviation demand, putting Hong Kong’s position as a regional and international aviation centre at risk. Aviation industry has contributed significantly to the Hong Kong Economy. Aviation sector accounted for HK$41 billion or 3% of Hong Kong’s gross domestic product in 2007. HKIA supports about 60,000 direct and tens of thousands of indirect employments.


How did the PAFF come about?

In 1989, the Government began planning the construction of HKIA and a permanent fuel facility as part of it. In 1991, a comprehensive site-selection process for the PAFF began. The Government, the Advisory Council on the Environment and Tuen Mun District Council were all consulted during this process, which included an exhaustive review of all potential sites over a ten-year period.

The PAFF site must:

Have a water depth of at least 17 metres
Include sufficient land
Offer a viable route for pipelines to HKIA
Be environmentally acceptable
Be completed on a timely basis

Tuen Mun Area 38 met all the criteria and is the most suitable site for the PAFF.


How safe is the PAFF?

The PAFF’s design and safety systems meet or exceed Hong Kong and international standards.

The distance between the tanks and the PAFF boundary is 28.5 metres. This exceeds the Hong Kong standard (10 metres) and international requirements (7.25 – 15 metres).
The bund wall is 4.8 metres high. This is sufficient to hold 150% of the largest tank's contents. The Hong Kong standard requires 110% of the largest tank’s capacity.
The tanks will be surrounded by a bund wall, and by two impervious security walls.
The bund walls are recessed into the surrounding earth for added strength.
The PAFF’s automated emergency shutdown system will prevent fuel spillage outside the facility.

Regular safety drills and tests will be performed before and after commencement of operation to ensure the safety systems function properly.


What is the Community Liaison Group?

In July 2007, HKIA formed the Community Liaison Group (CLG) to enhance transparency and communication with the community.

The CLG includes representatives from Tuen Mun District Council, Tuen Mun Area Committees, and business operators at Tuen Mun Area 38. CLG members will serve a two-year term. The CLG will hold regular meetings to advise and monitor the proper design, construction and operation of the facility.


Conclusion

Safety is the first priority in all aspects of HKIA’s operations. This applies to the PAFF, which was designed and built to be one of the world’s safest aviation fuel depots.

The PAFF is an essential addition to HKIA’s infrastructure. It will provide a reliable fuel supply that will allow HKIA to meet future demand and maintain Hong Kong’s role as a regional and international aviation centre. Phase 1a of PAFF commenced operation on 30 March 2010 and it is expected that Phase 1b would be operational by end of 2010.