Airbus A320 Fuel System

Airbus A320 Fuel System

Airbus A320 fuel system


Fuel storage: Fuel (Aviation Turbine Fuel or ATF) is stored in tanks within wings/fuselage/empennage.
Engine feed: It is the fuel piping and flows control from tanks to engines.
Fuel transfer: Inter-tank movement of fuel to maintain c.g. balance.
Fuel pressurization: Pressurization of fuel tanks by air/inert gas to facilitate fuel flow from tank to engines.
Fuel gauging: Measurement of fuel remaining in tanks
Venting systems: To expel air from fuel tanks during filling.
Refuel/ Defuel: Refilling / dumping of fuel as required.
In-flight refueling: Refueling of flying aircraft from a flying tanker
Fuel jettison: Dumping of fuel to reduce the mass of aircraft during emergency landing.
Cooling using fuel: Use of ATF itself as a coolant to take away excess heat from hot systems.
Fuel tank inerting: Fill emptied fuel tanks with an inert gas (N2) for long inactive storage of aircraft.


Total fuel capacity : 42,000 pounds
Wing tank inner cell: 12,200 lbs
Wing tank outer cell: 1,500 lbs
center tank: 14,500 lbs


(a) The Center Tank
(b) The Inner Tanks
(c) The Outer Tanks

Working of the Airbus A320 fuel system

Airbus A320 refueling
Airbus A320 refueling
The fuel board panel indicates the pilot about the current and past status of fuel during the flight. The FOB indicates the fuel on board in Kgs. Further, the fuel tanks are divided into three categories; two wing tanks and one center tank. The wing tanks are further divided into inner and outer wing tanks summing to a total of five fuel tanks in an A320 aircraft.

Each fuel tank is incorporated with a fuel pump connected through fuel lines and valves extending up to the two engines. The display is also used to indicate the temperatures of the wing tanks that they are exposed to during flight conditions. As the fuel from inner wing fuel tanks is consumed and reaches around 750kgs a transfer occurs and the fuel consumed from the outer wing tanks using gravity. This is done in order to avoid wing futter and wing bending which can result in catastrophic events.

Normally, the two sides of the fuel systems are kept isolated from one another, but, in case of any abnormality, the isolation can be removed to enable the flow of fuel from heavier locations to lighter locations. There are a total of 6 fuel pumps, 2 in each wing tank and 2 in the center tank.

Airbus A320


A fixed amount fuel supplied to each engine is transferred from the high-pressure fuel lime in that engine, through the IDG heat exchanger (where it absorbs heat), to the fuel return valve, and to the outer fuel tank. This process brings about the IDG cooling when the oil temperature is high or when at low engine power. The fuel re-circulation system moves the warm fuel from the IDG cooling system back to the related wing tank.


A Fuel leak may either be detected by

(a) Passenger observation (Fuel spray from engine or wing tip), or
(b) Net Fuel quantity decreases at an abnormal rate, or
(c) A Fuel imbalance, or
(d) A Tank emptying too fast (leak from engine, or a hole in tank), or
(e) A Tank overflowing (due to a pipe rupture in a tank), or
(f) An excessive fuel flow (leak from engine), or
(g) A Fuel smell in cabin

Thanks for reading!

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