Jet fuel, aviation turbine fuel (ATF), or avtur  is a type of fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines. It is clear to straw-coloured in appearance. The most commonly used fuels for commercial aviation are Jet A and Jet A-1 which are produced to a standardized international specification. The only other jet fuel commonly used in civilian turbine-engine powered aviation is Jet B which is used for its enhanced cold-weather performance.

Aviation Fuel or Jet fuel is a mixture of a large number of different hydrocarbons. Kerosene-type jet fuel (including Jet A and Jet A-1) has a carbon number distribution between about 8 and 16 carbon numbers (carbon atoms per molecule); wide-cut or naphtha-type jet fuel (including Jet B), between about 5 and 15 carbon numbers.

Aviation fuel or Jet Fuel is a specialized type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircraft; it is generally of a higher quality than fuels used in less critical applications such as heating or road transport, and often contains additives to reduce the risk of icing or explosion due to high temperatures, amongst other properties.



The basic civil jet fuel specification used in the United States of America is ASTM Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuels D 1655, which defines the requirements for three grades of fuel:-


  • Jet A, a kerosine type fuel having a maximum freeze point of -40 degrees C.

  • Jet A-1, a kerosine type fuel, identical with Jet A but with a maximum freeze point of -47 degrees C.

  • Jet B, a wide-cut type fuel.


Jet A is used within the United States by domestic and international airlines.

Jet B is rarely available nowadays except in parts of northern Canada where its lower freeze point and higher volatility is an advantage for handling and cold starting.


Although developed basically as a military jet fuel, D. Eng RD 2494, issued by the Ministry of Defence, was adopted as the standard UK civil jet fuel. It is now renamed as DEF STAN 91-91 and defines the requirements for a kerosine type fuel (Jet A-1 grade) having a maximum freeze point of -47 degrees C.

Jet A-1 according to the DEF STAN 91-91 specification is very similar to Jet A-1 defined by the ASTM D 1655 except for a small number of areas where DEF STAN 91-91 is more stringent.


Soviet kerosene type jet fuels are covered by a wide range of specification grades reflecting different crude sources and processing treatments used. The grade designation is T-1 to T-8, TS-1 or RT. The grades are covered either by a State Standard (GOST) number, or a Technical Condition (TU) number. The limiting property values, detailed fuel composition and test methods differ quite considerably in some cases from the Western equivalents.

The principle grade available in Russia (and members of the CIS) is TS-1.

The main differences in characteristics are that Soviet fuels have a low freeze point (equivalent to about -57 degrees C by Western test methods) but also a low flash point (a minimum of 28 degrees C compared with 38 degrees C for Western fuel). RT fuel (written as PT in Russian script) is the superior grade (a hydrotreated product) but is not produced widely. TS-1 (regular grade) is considered to be on a par with Western Jet A-1 and is approved by most aircraft manufacturers.

Eastern European countries have their own national standards with their own nomenclature. Many are very similar to the Russian standards but others reflect the requirements of visiting international airlines and are similar to Western Jet A-1 in properties and test methods.


Five types of jet fuel are covered by current Chinese specifications. Previously, each grade was numbered with a prefix RP, they are now renamed No 1 Jet Fuel, No 2 Jet Fuel etc. RP-I and RP-2 are kerosines which are similar to Soviet TS-1. They both have low flash point (minimum 28 degrees C).

RP-1 freeze point is -60 degrees C and RP-2 is -50 degrees C. RP-3 is basically as Western Jet A-1, produced as an export grade. RP-4 is a wide-cut type fuel similar to Western Jet B and Soviet T-2. RP-5 is a high flash point kerosine similar to that used in the West by naval aircrafl operating on aircraft carriers. Virtually all jet fuel produced in China is now RP-3 (renamed No 3 Jet Fuel).


As jet fuel supply arrangements have become more complex, involving co-mingling of product in joint storage facilities, a number of fuel suppliers developed a document which became known as the Aviation Fuel Quality Requirements for Jointly Operated Systems, or AFQRJOS, Check List. The Check List represents the most stringent requirements of the DEF STAN and ASTM specifications for JET A-1. By definition, any product meeting Check List requirements will also meet either DEF STAN or ASTM specifications.

Fuel delivered to the Check List embodies the most stringent requirements of the following specifications: -

(a) DEF STAN 91-91

(b) ASTM D1655 Kerosine Type Jet A-1,

The Check List is recognised by eight of the major aviation fuel suppliers - Agip, BP, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Kuwait Petroleum, Shell, Statoil and Total - as the basis of their international supply of virtually all civil aviation fuels outside North America and former Soviet Union.


There are many individual national specifications. Typcially, these are based on the US, UK or former Soviet specifications with minor differences. There are increasing moves to harmonise the small differences between the ASTM and DEF STAN specifications. This process of harmonisation is also in progress with many national specifications.


Civil Jet Fuels

Aviation turbine fuels are used for powering jet and turbo-prop engined aircraft and are not to be confused with Avgas. Outside former communist areas, there are currently two main grades of turbine fuel in use in civil commercial aviation : Jet A-1 and Jet A, both are kerosine type fuels. There is another grade of jet fuel, Jet B which is a wide cut kerosine (a blend of gasoline and kerosine) but it is rarely used except in very cold climates.

Jet A-1 is a kerosine grade of fuel suitable for most turbine engined aircraft. It is produced to a stringent internationally agreed standard, has a flash point above 38°C (100°F) and a freeze point maximum of -47°C. It is widely available outside the U.S.A. Jet A-1 meets the requirements of British specification DEF STAN 91–91 (Jet A-1), (formerly DERD 2494 (AVTUR)), ASTM specification D1655 (Jet A-1) and IATA Guidance Material (Kerosine Type), NATO Code F-35.

Jet A is a similar kerosine type of fuel, produced to an ASTM specification and normally only available in the U.S.A. It has the same flash point as Jet A-1 but a higher freeze point maximum (-40°C). It is supplied against the ASTM D1655 (Jet A) specification.

Jet B is a distillate covering the naphtha and kerosine fractions. It can be used as an alternative to Jet A-1 but because it is more difficult to handle (higher flammability), there is only significant demand in very cold climates where its better cold weather performance is important. In Canada it is supplied against the Canadian Specification CAN/CGSB 3.23.

Military Jet Fuels

Jet-4 is the military equivalent of Jet B with the addition of corrosion inhibitor and anti-icing additives; it meets the requirements of the U.S. Military Specification MIL-PRF-5624S Grade JP-4. JP-4 also meets the requirements of the British Specification DEF STAN 91–88 AVTAG/FSII (formerly DERD 2454),where FSII stands for Fuel Systems Icing Inhibitor. NATO Code F-40.

Jet-5 is a high flash point kerosine meeting the requirements of the U.S. Military Specification MIL-PRF-5624S Grade JP-5. JP-5 also meets the requirements of the British Specification DEF STAN 91–86 AVCAT/FSII (formerly DERD 2452). NATO Code F-44.

Jet-8 is the military equivalent of Jet A-1 with the addition of corrosion inhibitor and anti-icing additives; it meets the requirements of the U.S. Military Specification MIL-T-83188D. JP-8 also meets the requirements of the British Specification DEF STAN 91–87 AVTUR/FSII (formerly DERD 2453). NATO Code F-34.

 JP-9is a gas turbine fuel for missiles, specifically the Tomahawk containing the TH-dimer TetraHydroDiMethylCycloPentadiene produced by catalytic hydrogenation of methylpentadiene dimer.

JP-10is a gas turbine fuel for missiles, specifically the ALCM. It contains a mixture of (in decreasing order) endo-tetrahydrodicyclopentadiene, exo-tetrahydrodicyclopentadiene, and adamantane. It is produced by catalytic hydrogenation of dicyclopentadiene. It superseded JP-9 fuel, achieving a lower low-temperature service limit of −65 °F (−54 °C). 

JP54 is an abbreviation for “Jet Propulsion, A1, Colonial Grade 54″ During the refining process only 15% of the crude oil is made up of JP54 the rest of the grade is used for different types of plastic.

Developed by JP Morgan, Colonial grade JP54 was replaced by AVGAS also known as AVGAS100LL, it’s the number one low sulphur content kerosene used worldwide. It’s gasoline!

JP54 powers gas turbine aircraft engines. Jet A and A-1 have specifications that can be used in fuel worldwide. Jet B is used in cold weather elements. Commonly a number of different mixtures make up jet fuel and this relates to flash points and how the carbon numbers are distributed.

Actually most jet fuel exported from Russia etc. is “JP54” or “Colonial JP54”. It is similar to “Jet A” except the the Specific Energy is 18.4 mj/kg compared to that of 42.8 mj/kg of “Jet A”.

Also there is a slight difference in additives. The jet fuels come in a number of flavors. There is a 100+ page handbook needed to specify them all. However, all the jet fuels relate to additives to A1, which allows the plane not to leave a white tail in the sky showing where a plane has been.

Jet fuel is kerosene, and not a distillate like Gasoil/ Diesel. In the refinery, it separates above gasolines and parafins.

So, no airline will ever purchase “JP54”, there is no trading desk that will trade JP54 and you will find no oil company that sells “JP54”. They will sell Aviation fuel A1 enhanced to a variety of specifications, most usual, the Colonial Grade 54. There is no ticker on the commodity exchanges for “JP54” to allow you to see the market value of the product.

There is no special temperature considerations to consider. Remember that at 40,000 feet it is -46 Centigrade more or less regardless of where you are and the season. The only problem related to temperature is when you fill in a wet, hot climate, the air you take along in the same tanks contains a lot of water that condenses and forms spiking ice crystals that will destroy the jet turbine. The airlines will fix this with additives, usually fatty acids.

Military grade jet fuel is produced by the refineries and delivered directly since they will require special additives.


Jet fuels have a typical boiling range of 150-270°C, (which is somewhere between the boiling ranges of the gasoline and diesel we use in our road vehicles), and typically account for around 10-15% of total refinery production (3000 tonnes per day for a medium to large refinery!). 



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