IATA SAP Special Interest Group communication to all users of filter monitor filtration systems
15 Jun 2018
Representatives of airlines, engine and airframe manufacturers, aviation fuel filter manufacturers and the EI have been meeting as an IATA Special Interest Group to share information relating to the presence of super-absorbent polymer (SAP) in engine/fuel system components. The Special Interest Group is aware of eight incidents since April 2010, where the presence of SAP in engine/airframe fuel system components has been confirmed by those involved. More than one engine manufacturer, airframe manufacturer and location have been affected. The SAP involved in these events can only come from filter monitors, qualified to the industry specification, EI 1583. It has not been possible for these events to be investigated sufficiently to explain SAP migration mechanisms.
To date, the Special Interest Group has been unable to identify any significant fuel handling irregularities at the locations implicated in the events. However, work undertaken by the Special Interest Group has identified SAP migration mechanisms within normal operating parameters, that were previously unknown. Engine and airframe OEMs have not identified a level of SAP that is acceptable in aviation fuel.
Filter monitor manufacturers and SAP manufacturers have confirmed that it is not possible to guarantee that no SAP will pass downstream of filter monitor elements when in service. It is the collective opinion of the Special Interest Group that the continued use of filter monitor filtration systems in aviation fuel handling is incapable of reliably meeting the aircraft and engine operating requirements. It is the position of the Special Interest Group that filter monitors shall be phased out of all aviation fuel handling systems. The Special Interest Group activity will be concluded with the issue of a data summary and proposed roadmap for adoption by the industry