Essar Oil (UK), which owns and operates the Stanlow Refinery at Ellesmere Port, has signed its first agreement for the direct supply of aviation fuel to a commercial carrier, with a major deal having been agreed with Emirates airline at Manchester Airport.

Emirates flies three times daily from Manchester to Dubai operating the carrier’s Boeing 777-300 and its flagship Airbus A380 aircraft, the world’s largest passenger jet.

Stanlow, which produces 16% of the UK’s road transport fuel demand, manufactures over two billion litres of jet fuel each year. It currently supplies, on a wholesale basis, a significant proportion of Manchester Airport as well as Liverpool John Lennon and other regional airports jet fuel demand. However, this is the first time Essar Oil UK will directly supply aviation fuel to an airline, with discussions with other potential partners already under way.

Colin Dixon, head of marketing at Essar Oil UK, said: “This is a major milestone in our strategy of further downstream integration, combining our refinery supply strength with our marketing capabilities in the aviation sector. We look forward to becoming a key player in the aviation market.”

The deal with Emirates is part of Essar Oil UK’s strategy of downstream integration, which has recently seen its entry into the UK road fuel retail market. The business has confirmed plans to grow its retail network within the UK market to 400 sites over the next three years.